(+) Best Online Courses #15

The .NET Ecosystem: The Big Picture on Pluralsight by Barry Luijbregts

Continuing on a recent theme of top courses on Pluralsight, this one is a deserved stand-out as well. Now I can’t say if all of Pluralsight’s “The Big Picture” courses are necessarily good of course, but if these recently-reviewed courses are any indication, I certainly have high hopes for the rest of them.

The one thing that this course does exceptionally well is providing a very high-level overview of .NET for those unfamiliar with it, like I was before. Now keep in mind that this course is oriented for developers (and not non-developer end-users), so it does assume that you’ve heard of .NET and know its base purpose in providing a framework for applications to run. But what it doesn’t assume is that you know the difference between ASP.NET, .NET Framework, .NET Core, and .NET whatever else, because that’s exactly what it covers.

That is to say, if you need a resource to demystify the “jungle” of .NET-related technologies, including Xamarin, this is easily the best that I’ve seen so far. It thoroughly and succinctly explains the differences, divisions, and correlations between ASP.NET, .NET Framework, Core, Standard, everything else you might have heard of (CLR, WPF, UWP, et al), and even the related programming languages (C#, VB.NET, F#), and includes visual diagrams to helpfully show all of the important correlations. However, the main drawback is that it keeps things mostly surface-level and doesn’t go into any detail on the subsystems (WPF, ASP.NET, Windows Forms, UWP, CLR) and what each one is about, so if you’re expecting any detail on the subsystems, you’ll need to look elsewhere.

The course also helpfully provides screencast-based demos to show how to publish and run apps (for .NET Framework, Core, and Xamarin) in Visual Studio 2017, and further points out the various kinds of apps you can build in Visual Studio. Lastly, it concludes with a look at IL (Intermediate Language) and ILSpy.

Conclusion: an excellent introduction to the world of .NET and related technologies for anyone coming to it for the first time. I’d call it a required “step 0” before jumping into .NET development proper.

Rating: 4 out of 5 (-1 for lack of coverage on the .NET subsystems)