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April 03, 2003

A (re)view of Shared Source CLI Essentials.

I have been reading the SSCLI Essentials book by David Stutz, Ted Neward and Geoff Shilling. The book is impressive from the point of balance between fundamental concepts, design choices and implementation details. On numerous occasions the implementation details are used to enlighten the discussion of the concepts, and it is done so in a very effective manner. Many of the concepts discussed in this book outreach Rotor itself, as they are generic issues associated with any CLI implementation. A good example of this is for example the chapter on the execution engine with all the details on Frames, Stackwalking, Threads and Threadpools and Exception handling. I strongly recommend this book to anyone who wants a deeper insight into CLI technology, not just those interested in Rotor.

It is a long time a go that I read a book that used implementation details effectively, and that was able to enlighten the audience about the important concepts of the technology. I think it is on par with one of my all time favorites: The Design and Implementation of the 4.2 BSD Operating System by Leffler, McKusick, Karels andQuarterman, of which a 4.4 version is now available.

I can't help but compare this book to some of the other books about the CLR or the .NET Runtime. I think that most of these other books, such as Don Box & Chris Sells' Essential .NET Vol. I or Kevin Burton's .NET CLR Unleased, are effective for the more general audience interested in the technology, but that SSCLI Essentials will be the handbook for those who really want to understand the details of the how and why's of CLI.

An interview with David Stutz about the book can be found here. I particularly liked David's remark "You know, there are numerous researchers, professors, teachers and students who might not like your choice of the words "simply a research platform.""

Posted by Werner Vogels at April 3, 2003 02:42 PM
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A (re)view of Shared Source CLI Essentials.
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