So you want to learn about the .NET Framework huh?

So here I am, sitting on the couch, with a blank sheet of paper in front of me thinking what technical things I would like to tackle in my PD plan this year.

I think one of the big things that I am going to tackle this year is really getting a deep understanding of the .NET Framework (version 3.5). When I think about how I learned .NET 1.0 (way back in 2000) it was really a case of picking a namespace each night and churning through it each night until I had hundreds of little C# files in a directory structure all linked together via makefiles (back then VS.NET wasn’t even alpha quality).

The process was time consuming because I was starting from zero, but I found that it really set me up for the future because for a long time I could probably name the class I needed to use off the top of my head.

As time progressed and newer versions of the framework were released (.NET 1.1, .NET 2.0 and .NET 3.0 such as it was) I managed to keep mostly across what was updated, although I must admit that .NET 3.0 dumped a lot of new framework on all of us and I definitely haven’t done enough namespace surfing there.

With .NET Framework 3.5 I think that I am presented with a new opportunity to dig through the framework and find lots of interesting new runtime and BCL enhancements and so at least one pillar of my PD program is going to be about cementing my knowledge of .NET 3.5.

My approach won’t be much different to last time, I’ll start at the top hunting for interesting namespaces and simply start writing sample programs to exercise those APIs. Rather than lose the stuff that I produce I am thinking that I’ll persist it to my blog – that way it is picked up by Google and I can easily refresh my brain by typing in “notgartner {namespace}”.

Now just to decide which parts of the framework I am going to explicitly cover as PD, and how much time out of my 23 day allotment I am actually going to spend on it (I’ve got other goals too).


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