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|Visual C# Training Course Review
by Martin Crane
At last there is an easy way to produce high class professional looking Windows applications that include far more functionality and power than most other programming methods.
For years I've wished to write my own applications that control external equipment from my PC. Eureka!! Peter Brunning has shown just how simple it really is. I am up and running at last.
Do not shy away from C# because you think it's complicated. It takes longer to install C# than it does to get your first programme working and not much longer to discover how to write to, and read from your serial port.
Most people seem to start with Visual Basic. The first language I learned was Java without any visual aspect to it at all. I then decided to give Visual Basic a go because it had a visual interface and was popular! I found it truly frustrating, limiting and nowhere near as powerful.
The Training package
A free download from Microsoft (a bit of a laboured registration process though). But, C# has combined everything you could wish for and more besides. The interface will be instantly familiar to Visual Basic users but with far more options. The coding is dealt with by Peter in such a way that without previous knowledge, you can within a very short time, be using the serial port. There's a lot in the way of help files built into C#. The language and syntax is very similar to Java, much of which will just 'drop straight in'.
Brunning Software's AUX200 PIC based serial port interface comes pre-programmed but the code is listed in the book together with the available features.
The AUX200 is well constructed and includes a breadboard, LCD and all the components necessary for the experiments in the book. A power supply & serial cable are also available.
There are 272 pages in a ring bound form. This is good because you can fold the pages right back, it remains flat and takes less space on your bench.
The book is written such that you are writing code almost from the word go. You do not have to go through huge in depth explanations of how and why it all works. It's not a C# programming technique book. For those of us who wish to do truly practical things and control what we make from our PC's this book fits in where no other book I've ever found even comes close.
The experiments are totally real life examples, demonstrating exactly the principles you might use in a project of your own.
There are drawings and code for every experiment. It's the sort of book that you can work through chapter by chapter, it grows logically step by step.
Say for example you wished to build a weather station that consisted of a temperature probe, a dc tachometer for wind speed and synchro transmitter or encoder for wind direction. There's enough information that can be gained from this training package for you to build an application that will record that data graphically and save it to file.
Go with Visual C# in preference to Visual Basic, even if you're completely new to it. Visual C# has a superb interface that takes care of the Windows aspect thus saving hours of coding. It is far more powerful, especially regarding graphics and math functions. It has built in support for serial comms and a wealth of classes and methods at your finger tips.
Congratulations Peter, for producing a truly hands on training package. It has opened up so many possibilities. I am totally hooked. I just can't find enough hours in the day. This, together with the ability to programme PIC's, gives the total solution to controlling your projects from a PC.
(a very satisfied customer)
Martin Crane purchased the original Brunning Software PIC training course in October 2003 and in September 2005 he updated to the latest version. Three weeks before Christmas 2006 Mrs Crane purchased the Visual C# training course as a Christmas present for her husband. On 21st March 2007 we received an email from Martin Crane which includes his personal review of the Visual C# training course. His words have been reproduced above exactly as written. This is a totally unsolicited testimony but extremely welcome.