Inside Microsoft .NET IL Assembler

Author: Serge Lidin
List Price: $49.99
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ISBN: 0735615470
Publisher: Microsoft Press (06 February, 2002)
Edition: Paperback
Sales Rank: 56,907
Average Customer Rating: 4 out of 5

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Customer Reviews

Rating: 5 out of 5
Use this book to learn IL and improve ALL your .NET skills
Inside Microsoft .NET IL Assembler is like a backstage pass to the language that ALL managed .NET code compiles down to and a great companion to any .NET developer who wants to better understand how their code is compiled and executed.

Benefits of the book:

For the 'average' .NET developer there are a number of things you can learn and apply to daily software development. For a start you will learn how to read the IL code from compiled C#, VB.NET or any other managed .NET assembly. This will give you more options in tuning performance (since you will understand the true IL impact of your code alternatives) or hunting down bugs, even if orignial source is unavailable.

Learning the finer points of IL will allow you to use the Reflection.Emit namespace to dynamically create and load your own IL-based assemblies at run time, for extreme flexibility, performance or both.

Knowing IL will also allow you to work with existing assemblies by disassembling then, modifying their code then re-assembling them (IL round-tripping). You can add functionality that is not available to C# or VB.NET (i.e. global methods and fields or unions within a struct) or you can control minute details of unmanaged interop.

Things I thought could be improved:

Since the text is quite dense with information, there could be more context which would help with actual application. Sometimes the implications of what was being talked about weren't clear to me.

There were few samples on the CD, although there were lots of snippets inline with the text.

All in all, this is my favorite .NET book simply because, although you can be a great .NET programmer without knowing IL, you are definately better off if you do.

Rating: 3 out of 5
This book is mostly about the IL language
I was looking for a book which offered a more detailed view on .NET assemblies and interaction with the CLR: guidelines for packaging and deploying assemblies, how the CLR locates assemblies, etc.

This book does provide that information, nonetheless, my mistake was not realizing that this is a book mainly about the *IL language* itself. I was not interested in looking into that much detail. The book also covers in great detail what exactly is stored in a .NET assembly. I also liked the discussion on interoperation of managed and unmanaged code.

If you're looking for a book on IL, this is your book, otherwise it seems that the book 'Compiling for the .NET CLR' is a better book for what I was looking for.

Rating: 2 out of 5
The ECMA Spec is More Useful
From its table of contents, this book would seem to be an invaluable resource for vm architects or compiler writers. Unfortunately, the book is wrong in places and the online errata page isn't updated. Also, the explanations aren't as in depth as I would like. This book should be a companion or replacement to the ECMA CIL specification. Sadly, it's neither.

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