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The dummies book series has been one of my favorite "clear away the confusion" book series. Admittedly Linq is a troublesome subject, but I have to say this book is a fair introduction to the subject area. Linq is one of the important emerging areas of abstraction in the .NET languages along with Parallel programming, ADO.NET 4, and WCF. Most books on Linq leave you still confused and uncertain after reading them. Here the opposite is true, you are left with the feeling of understanding the subject and that the clouds of confusion are clearing away.
Abstraction allows computer language to better match the way we think which is in concepts. Linq allows us to conceptualize the extraction and insertion process with common language operations that have to do with communications. Linq has four basic parts, to objects, to XML, to SQL Server, and to Entity Framework. Entity Framwork linqs are not covered in this book.
When I first started looking into Linq last year I was specifically concerned with Linq to SQL Server because I thought that this was the real strength of the Linq language extension. However, I came to realize that there were far more incidents that benefit from Linq to objects than anything else. I have studied Linq to Entities hoping that other databases could be brought into the common usage area that .NET is developing and ran into an enourmous ammount of study and planning to make it work. So, I have learned to focus on Linq with objects as the most practical useage for Linq.
This book not only does a fine job of introducing Linq, but goes on to show how it can work with Microsoft Office, COM objects, Active Directory, and Datasets. There is a wide diversity of operations that should serve the reader well no matter what areas of language development interest him.
Unusually good for a book of this order are the last two sections which focus on the best use of planning and strategy to make Linq as useful as possible. Take a step back and abstract the entire process of Linq and your programs will take a step or two upward in quality and manageability.
I am giving this book five stars for a beautiful and comprehensive introduction to Linq. No matter that I have three other books that give deeper and more thourough development of this subject, I still return to this book for inspiration.
I would probably really give this about 4 1/2 if amazon would let me.
Firstly - only use this book if you are capable of understanding basic C#. As a VB programmer with a little C# experience i was able to pick it up quite easily though. If you have no experience and have just picked up on the LINQ buzzword, make sure you learn a basic level of C#.NET before touching this book.
The book is generally very well written and is about what you would expect from a dummies book. Having finished it, i am not an expert, but have a good foundation knowledge for using it in the real world. LINQ is a vast topic and it provides a good overview of a number of uses.
It would have been nice to see a bit more LINQ to SQL, but LINQ has more broad ranging capabilities than that, and the author does a good job of showing its potential.
This is one of the great text books, it's up there with Sykes' Organic Chemistry. Every other course I've taken gets sidetracked by how .Net has been twisted to accommodate the syntax. This starts from the point of view of what you can do with it. The style is also easily readable and clear.