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Framework Design Guidelines: Conventions, Idioms, and Patterns for Reusable .NET Libraries: Conventions, Idioms, and Patterns for Reuseable .NET Libraries (Microsoft .Net Development) Hardcover – 22 Oct 2008

5.0 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Addison Wesley; 2 edition (22 Oct. 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0321545613
  • ISBN-13: 978-0321545619
  • Product Dimensions: 18.7 x 3.2 x 24.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 234,293 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description


Framework Design Guidelines is one of those rare books that can be read at different reading levels and can be useful to different kinds of developers. Regardless of whether you want to design an effective object model, improve your understanding of the .NET Framework, borrow from the experience of software gurus, stay clear of the most common programming mistakes, or just get an idea of the huge effort that led to the .NET initiative, this book is a must-read.”

―Francesco Balena, The VB Migration Partner Team (www.vbmigration.com), Code Architect, Author, and Microsoft Regional Director, Italy


“Frameworks are valuable but notoriously difficult to construct: your every decision must be geared toward making them easy to be used correctly and difficult to be used incorrectly. This book takes you through a progression of recommendations that will eliminate many of those downstream ‘I wish I’d known that earlier’ moments. I wish I’d read it earlier.”

―Paul Besly, Principal Technologist, QA


“Not since Brooks’ The Mythical Man Month has the major software maker of its time produced a book so full of relevant advice for the modern software developer. This book has a permanent place on my bookshelf and I consult it frequently.”

―George Byrkit, Senior Software Engineer, Genomic Solutions


“Updated for the new language features of the .NET Framework 3.0 and 3.5, this book continues to be the definitive resource for .NET developers and architects who are designing class library frameworks. Some of the existing guidelines have been expanded with new annotations and more detail, and new guidance covering such features as extension methods and nullable types has also been included. The guidance will help any developer write clearer and more understandable code, while the annotations provide invaluable insight into some of the design decisions that made the .NET Framework what it is today.”

―Scott Dorman, Microsoft MVP and President, Tampa Bay International Association of Software Architects


“Filled with information useful to developers and architects of all levels, this book provides practical guidelines and expert background information to get behind the rules. Framework Design Guidelines takes the already published guidelines to a higher level, and it is needed to write applications that integrate well in the .NET area.”

―Cristof Falk, Software Engineer


“This book is an absolute must read for all .NET developers. It gives clear ‘do’ and ‘don’t’ guidance on how to design class libraries for .NET. It also offers insight into the design and creation of .NET that really helps developers understand the reasons why things are the way they are. This information will aid developers designing their own class libraries and will also allow them to take advantage of the .NET class library more effectively.”

―Jeffrey Richter, Author/Trainer/Consultant, Wintellect


“The second edition of Framework Design Guidelines gives you new, important insight into designing your own class libraries: Abrams and Cwalina frankly discuss the challenges of adding new features to shipping versions of their products with minimal impact on existing code. You’ll find great examples of how to create version N+1 of your software by learning how the .NET class library team

created versions 2.0, 3.0, and 3.5 of the .NET library. They were able to add generics, WCF, WPF, WF, and LINQ with minimal impact on the existing APIs, even providing capabilities for customers wanting to use only some of the new features, while still maintaining compatibility with the original library.”

―Bill Wagner, Founder and Consultant, SRT Solutions, author of Effective C# and More Effective C#


“This book is a must read for all architects and software developers thinking about frameworks. The book offers insight into some driving factors behind the design of the .NET Framework. It should be considered mandatory reading for anybody tasked with creating application frameworks.”

―Peter Winkler, Sr. Software Engineer, Balance Technology Inc.


“An instant classic.”

―From the Foreword by Miguel de Icaza


From the Back Cover

Framework Design Guidelines, Second Edition, teaches developers the best practices for designing reusable libraries for the Microsoft .NET Framework. Expanded and updated for .NET 3.5, this new edition focuses on the design issues that directly affect the programmability of a class library, specifically its publicly accessible APIs.


This book can improve the work of any .NET developer producing code that other developers will use. It includes copious annotations to the guidelines by thirty-five prominent architects and practitioners of the .NET Framework, providing a lively discussion of the reasons for the guidelines as well as examples of when to break those guidelines.


Microsoft architects Krzysztof Cwalina and Brad Abrams teach framework design from the top down. From their significant combined experience and deep insight, you will learn

  • The general philosophy and fundamental principles of framework design
  • Naming guidelines for the various parts of a framework
  • Guidelines for the design and extending of types and members of types
  • Issues affecting–and guidelines for ensuring–extensibility
  • How (and how not) to design exceptions
  • Guidelines for–and examples of–common framework design patterns

Guidelines in this book are presented in four major forms: Do, Consider, Avoid, and Do not. These directives help focus attention on practices that should always be used, those that should generally be used, those that should rarely be used, and those that should never be used. Every guideline includes a discussion of its applicability, and most include a code example to help illuminate the dialogue.


Framework Design Guidelines, Second Edition, is the only definitive source of best practices for managed code API development, direct from the architects themselves.


A companion DVD includes the Designing .NET Class Libraries video series, instructional presentations by the authors on design guidelines for developing classes and components that extend the .NET Framework. A sample API specification and other useful resources and tools are also included.

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
The book is mainly focused on .Net Framework. There are a lot of good comments from the Framework creators that give a good overview of the general .Net Framework design.
It helped me to enhance the quality of my code and make it more standard. I also follow some of the guidelines blindly because they give good examples of what can potentially happen if you don't follow it. The authors share the valuable experience of a lot of years making things right and wrong with honesty.
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By E. L. Wisty TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 18 Jun. 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
If there's one software development book which I wish I could give a copy of to everyone in my team and make them read it cover to cover, it is this one. This is not about someone's bureaucratic pet coding standard, this is about creating .NET code (any code, not just the "frameworks" and "libraries" of the title) which is comprehensible, reliable and usable.

Major points are listed as Do, Consider, Avoid and Don't, with plenty of explanatory commentary - why to do it as well as what to do. It's not dogmatic, as the various authors involved sometimes chip in with their own viewpoints which may not always be entirely consistent (and there are some Do's and Don'ts given which I would disagree with). They are also not afraid to point out where they did something daft in the .NET framework itself as an example of what not to do. Examples are given in C#.

This is without a doubt my most essential, the book to save from a burning building.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is unique. It allowed me to improve my coding style. It tought me how to write a code, which will be what .NET developers expect in terms of usage. Lots of comments from other developers who affected .NET, so you should be able to understand why they made specific choices. Bear in mind it is about creating frameworks and libs, so some guidelines are not valid for end user apps!
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Format: Hardcover
This book is my daily reference manual for me as a framework designer.
We use the principles in book as design standards. brillant book!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 4.7 out of 5 stars 22 reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If you're going to write maintainable .NET code, get this book 5 Dec. 2012
By Dr. Curmudgeon - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
One of my all-time favorite programming books. Puts into very clear language practices that would have probably taken me a couple more years to come up to on my own.

It fully describes how and why the .NET framework is laid out the way it is, why the parts that seem to annoy you the most got it wrong and how, and provides many useful guidelines from helping you refrain from shooting yourself in the foot.

I might also say that it's equally applicable to just about any modern, sort of OO-based procedural language, but that would probably result in bloody religious wars.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars excellent reference 17 Nov. 2011
By Paul Gehrman - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is an excellent book for .NET developers, although I wouldn't recommend it for beginners. I read it a few years ago when I first started in .NET and found it a bit overwhelming. However, after reading it again with a few more years of .NET under my belt, I found the book very informative and helpful in terms of understanding not only how public APIs should be built, but also excellent tidbits about various .NET coding best practices that are applicable to developing just about any type of app.

One other thing I'll mention about this book is that it is geared toward developing a public API, so many of the recommendations may not be applicable to your specific situation. Indeed, for the development of most apps that aren't going to be used by other developers, much simpler coding approaches and architectures can and should be used. Despite that, however, this book has a lot going for it and you'll certainly gain a much deeper understanding of .NET after reading it.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Standing on the shoulders of giants 23 May 2011
By Peter Wone - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Brimful of divine wit and wisdom, this book actually was written by the creators of a universe. In a departure from biblical tradition, it is comprehensive, internally consistent and rarely ambiguous. It is also surprisingly entertaining and engaging.

Known inconsistencies and ambiguities are called out and explained, sometimes apologetically, as the gods of dotnet expound principles and then explain their own acts of creation to illustrate best practice - or sometimes worst practice, when they failed to heed their own advice. The text is littered with inset comments, as though the authors were standing around reviewing a draught of the book with you. They don't always share opinions, and the voice of dissent is as instructive as the explications.

I bought the first edition and loved it, giving it into the hands of someone who needed it. Now I have the second edition. Every now and then I skim it just to refresh my understanding, and sometimes to glean new insight in the context of more experience. Few of us will ever write an application framework, yet I think all of us would be better programmers if we shared the wisdom of those who do. Buy the book. If nothing else it's a hell of a conversation piece.
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential read for all .NET developers 23 Oct. 2011
By Bill Sorensen - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I've bought this book three times: the first edition, the second edition, and the Kindle edition (for searching).

The authors don't just give you guidelines; they give you the reasons behind the guidelines. These reasons are ones learned at Microsoft during the development of the .NET Framework. They tell you what worked and what didn't.

You get multiple points of view, sometimes dissenting. There are, by my count, 25 reviewers / annotators, including Anders Hejlsberg.

The chapter on Common Design Patterns is one I reference frequently.

There are other gems in here, such as Appendix C: Sample API Specification:

"APIs that were designed by writing code samples before actually designing the API are generally successful. APIs that were designed before code samples were written to show how the resulting APIs should be used are often too complex, not self-explanatory, and ultimately need to be fixed in subsequent releases."

If your first instinct upon being told "do it this way" is to ask "why?", this is the book for you.
4.0 out of 5 stars A little dry but informative 16 April 2010
By Dennis Rongo - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I would only recommend this book if you're an intermediate or advanced .NET developer as there's a lot of high-level concepts discussed. Understanding the premises of object oriented programming is important as the book will talk about various techniques revolving this main concept. The book does feel very much like a textbook and can be dry but nonetheless, you'll pick up a thing or two that will make you a better programmer. I found the random comments throughout the book to be a good supplemental feature to the topic being discussed as some are key personalities in the industry; and it's always good what they have to say.

Lastly, the included DVD is just a presentation that can be found easily online, so it's nothing to be excited about. If you're looking to become a better API designer, or a better programmer, the book is a must-have. On the other hand, if you're a novice, you'd want to maybe hold off buying until you've understand the basics of OO and programming in general.
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