Sixteen years ago I wrote my first tech book, The Book of VB .NET. It was a guide for beginner programmers moving to the exciting new world of .NET, with extra advice for those coming from my favorite classic environment: the clean and quirky Visual Basic 6. The book was published by the wonderful No Starch Press. Anyone who knows No Starch knows that they rarely publish books that deal with Microsoft products, but Bill Pollock liked the concept (and my writing) enough to give it an enthusiastic try. The book was a modest success and a lot of fun to write.
Fast forward to today: .NET is no longer the cool new kid on the block, but a thriving ecosystem with layers of features and frameworks plastered (sometimes messily) overtop. And my pioneering book is finally out of print, but not completely dead. If you’re interested in revisiting the early days of .NET, you can download a PDF of the most up-to-date version (circa 2005) here: The Book of Visual Basic 2005. Surprisingly, most of the information is still true today, so you could still use this book to learn about .NET basics like object-oriented programming, exception handling, and multithreading. But it’s probably more interesting to computer historians or the last half-dozen classic VB6 programmers that I know are still out there, somewhere in the corporate world.
And if you’ve got a spare moment, why not head over to see the current lineup of books at No Starch Press? They’re probably best known for their books about hacking and computer security, but I’m a big fan of their books for kids. Their Survive! Inside the Human Body series of three graphic novels about the human body, translated from Korean, is a particular favorite with my family.