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By the time you are holding this book in your hands, I will have 30 years in since the first time I wrote some code. That code was ROM-BASIC on a TRS-80 in Washington grammar school in Owosso, Michigan, and I was in the fifth grade. Making the "tank" slide back and forth shooting blips across the screen was neat. Changing the code to change blip speeds and numbers of targets was exhilarating. Three decades later and I get more excited each passing year. There are great technologies on the horizon like Microsoft Surface, Popfly, and LINQ. This book is about LINQ, or Language INtegrated Query.
LINQ is a SQL-like language for C#. When I first saw it, I didn't like it. My first impression was that someone had glommed on a bastardization of C# and it was ugly like SQL can get. I didn't like it because I didn't understand it. However, I gave LINQ a second chance (as I want you to do) and discovered that LINQ is thoroughly integrated, tremendously powerful, and almost as much fun as a Tesla Roadster or doing hammerheads in an Extra 300L.
The query capabilities of LINQ are extended to objects, SQL, DataSets, XML, XSD, entities, and can be extended to other providers like Active Directory or SharePoint. This means that you can write queries—that are similar in syntax—against objects, data, XML, XSD, entities, or Active Directory (with a little work) much like you would a SQL query in a database. And, LINQ is actually engineered artfully and brilliantly on top of generics as well as some new features in .NET 3.5, such as extension methods, anonymous types, and Lambda Expressions. Another very important characteristic of LINQ is that it clearly demonstrates Microsoft's willingness to innovate and take the best of existing technologies like Lambda Calculus—invented in the 1930s—and if it's good or great, incorporate these elements into the tools and languages we love.
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