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I'm interested how programmers got started with learning .NET development. What books and blogs did you read, podcasts or videos did you watch/listened and what other resources did you use to self learn .NET development. I have to mention that while I am new to .NET I'm not new to programming in general. I've used PHP, Python for a while and Java for about 1-2 months.

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9 Answers

I had been doing C++ and COM for years and as .NET approached, I made my company send me to Guerrilla .NET for the week. Pluralsight rocks for video and in-person training as does Developmentor and Guerrilla .NET. Neither is free, but they are like 0-100 mph in one week.

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I learned the same way I started learning any language. I had a task I wanted to complete and I started doing it. My first work with .NET was taking this code used for managing wallpaper for multiple monitors, and modifying it so that while it was running it would check every minute to see if the current wallpaper was still set to the image it ultimately created. This way if my company had one of its jobs override my wallpaper with the corporate wallpaper, my modified program would change it back. After that I created a winforms app that would encrypt/decrypt strings for me provided I had an input string and the seed and could choose an encryption method.

The point I'm trying to make is that learning .NET is the same as learning any language: the best way to learn is to just start doing, while finding the appropriate resources needed along the way.

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See this:

http://stackoverflow.com/questions/189225/c-books-for-developers-that-know-object-oriented-programming/575205#575205

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CLR via C# is extremely good as long as you are not new to programming or intimidated by details. –  Narayana Dec 20 '10 at 10:26
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In 2002, my startup company's product had hit a dead end. It very clearly needed to have an integrated web server, and I wasn't able to find any options that really fit the bill. I couldn't use something that had a separate footprint, like Apache, and I couldn't use something that was incompatible with Windows 98/ME (like the app that eventually became Visual Studio's development server).

The idea of coding up a full web server in C++ made me reconsider my career choice, but on a whim, I called an old friend who was also a software engineer, and he recommended that I take a look at C# and .NET. He implied that it would give me levels of productivity that I would find truly surprising, and since he is one of the smartest people that I know, I gave it a try.

I downloaded the .NET 1.1 SDK and started coding. Just about exactly a week later, I had an HTTP 1.0 multi-threaded web server that I could integrate directly into my product. And I then immediately converted the entire code base from C and C++ to C#.

Never looked back.

Always try to learn by doing.

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There are already a number of good places to get started, but here are some of the blogs I (try to) keep up with:

www.4GuysFromRolla.com

ayende.com/blog

www.codinghorror.com/blog (more for entertainment, but you do learn how not to do things as well)

www.thejoyofcode.com

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I picked up a copy of Programming Visual Basic .NET. It's a pretty hefty book, but it has a pretty good overview of almost all .NET topics. I think you would still find it very useful even if you are partial to C# rather than VB.NET (as the two languages have only a few differences, and generally compile to the same bytecode.)

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I was in my career when .net came out. I was stuck in VB6 at the time, and people were moving to web (cold fusion mostly). ASP just didn' have it for desktop dev guy. Then cam .net i could use a C language (which i started in) and have all the bells and whistles. I remember seeing videos that showed where Microsoft wanted to go and the romantic developer in me fell in love.

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When I started with .NET it was during the beta for v1.0, so not much remains. What I would do if I was starting out now is to start with all the learning resources on MSDN. There are tons of How-to vidoes and sample apps. It would be a great place to start.

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Book: Head First C#

alt text

http://oreilly.com/catalog/9780596514822

That should explain the basics very clearly and get you on your way.

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