20 Years of Apress: Interview with .NET & C# Author Philip Japikse

Apress is officially 20 years old. To celebrate, we're interviewing authors from Apress' past and present to get their valuable insights into both how their industry has changed and what they predict for the future.

Interview with .NET & C# Author Philip Japikse

Apress: What macro & micro ways has your area(s) of expertise in tech changed since Apress was founded 20 years ago?

Japikse: 20 years ago, I was working with VB, building web sites and client applications. The MS tech stack wasn’t very big at that time, so we pretty much knew everything there was to know about VB6, ASP, and databases (usually Oracle back then). Microsoft .NET was just getting launched, and since I was already working with Microsoft tools, the move to .NET was an obvious choice for me. I purchased the first edition of Andrew Troelsen’s book, C# and the .NET Framework, and dove in head first. My VB6 work quickly became C#, using WebForms and WinForms to produce applications, and focusing on SQL Server for the database layer. The biggest surprise for me was the breadth of the .NET. Even in those early days, “knowing it all” was a difficult task.  While the pace of change in the early years wasn’t like it is today, each new release of .NET brought additional frameworks and new ways of solving problems. WinForms became WPF, WebForms moved to ASP.NET MVC, and using ASMX/SOAP gave way to ASP.NET WebAPI and Restful services. We also saw some frameworks come and go with the different versions of .NET, such as .NET Remoting.

Apress: In your personal professional journey, how have tech books factored into your work? Have they become less relevant over the years? More relevant? Stayed the same?

Japikse: Before I became an author with Apress, books were always critical to my learning. I still have my copy of every edition of the “C# and the .NET Framework” book.  That book for me was the definitive book on what is available in each version of C# and .NET. The main goal of the book is (of course) a deep dive into C#. But each edition also covers frameworks in .NET (such as WPF, EF, MVC, etc.). While it’s not meant to be the deep resource on those frameworks, it covered (and covers) each framework well enough to decide if the technology fits the need of a project. Then I would study the topic deeper. If that mean getting Matthew’s WPF books, or Adam’s books on ASP.NET, the C# book was always my starting point. By the way, since I became involved starting with the 7th edition, my goal was (and is) to continue that philosophy. Cover C# in depth, and then show enough of the available frameworks to make intelligent architectural decisions.  

Apress: C# and .NET are particularly interesting areas. As an expert in them, how do you see them changing & growing over the next decade? Any predictions of the what the future C# and .NET user bases will respectively be?

Japikse: We have already seen an amazing amount of change in the .NET world. The move from .NET to .NET Core has torn down all sorts of barriers to adoption. It’s all now 100% open source with over 60K contributions by non-Microsoft employees. Not only can it run on Windows, iOS, and Linux, it can be developed on all of those as well. Free tooling such as Visual Studio Code and Visual Studio Community Edition have enabled a whole new set of people into the C# and the .NET Core world who couldn’t afford to buy an expensive IDE, or didn’t want to use a stripped down version. With the release of .NET Core 3.0, WPF and WinForms developers will be able to take advantage of all that C# 8 and .NET Core have to offer. I expect we will see a much more diverse set of developers creating a wide range on applications for a wide range of platforms.

Apress: Lastly, what is one of your favorite interactions you’ve had with a reader of one of your Apress books?

Japikse: I am fortunate that I meet a lot of my readers when I speak at conferences, and always enjoy hearing what they liked (or didn’t like) about the various books I have authored with Apress. One of my favorite moments was when my consulting company was brought in to meet with a potential customer. As we were going around the room making introductions, one of their developers pulled out a copy of one of my books and asked if I would sign it for him. I of course was more than happy to, and as I finished signing his book, we won the project!

About the Authors

Philip Japikse is a Microsoft MVP and the founder of the Cincy Deliver Conference. He can be found at http://www.skimedic.com/blog/.