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Framework Design Guidelines: Conventions, Idioms, and Patterns for Reusable .NET Libraries, 2nd Edition

By Krzysztof Cwalina, Brad Abrams

Published by Addison-Wesley Professional

Published Date: Oct 22, 2008


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.

Table of Contents

Figures xvii

Tables xix

Foreword xxi

Foreword to the First Edition xxiii

Preface xxv

Acknowledgments xxxi

About the Authors xxxiii

About the Annotators xxxv


Chapter 1: Introduction 1

1.1: Qualities of a Well-Designed Framework 3

Chapter 2: Framework Design Fundamentals 9

2.1: Progressive Frameworks 11

2.2: Fundamental Principles of Framework Design 14

Chapter 3: Naming Guidelines 37

3.1: Capitalization Conventions 38

3.2: General Naming Conventions 46

3.3: Names of Assemblies and DLLs 54

3.4: Names of Namespaces 56

3.5: Names of Classes, Structs, and Interfaces 60

3.6: Names of Type Members 68

3.7: Naming Parameters 73

3.8: Naming Resources 74

Chapter 4: Type Design Guidelines 77

4.1: Types and Namespaces 79

4.2: Choosing Between Class and Struct 84

4.3: Choosing Between Class and Interface 88

4.4: Abstract Class Design 95

4.5: Static Class Design 97

4.6: Interface Design 98

4.7: Struct Design 101

4.8: Enum Design 103

4.9: Nested Types 115

4.10: Types and Assembly Metadata 118

Chapter 5: Member Design 121

5.1: General Member Design Guidelines 121

5.2: Property Design 138

5.3: Constructor Design 144

5.4: Event Design 153

5.5: Field Design 159

5.6: Extension Methods 162

5.7: Operator Overloads 168

5.8: Parameter Design 175

Chapter 6: Designing for Extensibility 193

6.1: Extensibility Mechanisms 193

6.2: Base Classes 206

6.3: Sealing 207

Chapter 7: Exceptions 211

7.1: Exception Throwing 216

7.2: Choosing the Right Type of Exception to Throw 221

7.3: Using Standard Exception Types 234

7.4: Designing Custom Exceptions 239

7.5: Exceptions and Performance 240

Chapter 8: Usage Guidelines 245

8.1: Arrays 245

8.2: Attributes 247

8.3: Collections 250

8.4: DateTime and DateTimeOffset 261

8.5: ICloneable 263

8.6: IComparable<T> and IEquatable<T> 264

8.7: IDisposable 266

8.8: Nullable<T> 266

8.9: Object 268

8.10: Serialization 274

8.11: Uri 283

8.12: System.Xml Usage 284

8.13: Equality Operators 286

Chapter 9: Common Design Patterns 289

9.1: Aggregate Components 289

9.2: The Async Patterns 298

9.3: Dependency Properties 312

9.4: Dispose Pattern 319

9.5: Factories 332

9.6: LINQ Support 337

9.7: Optional Feature Pattern 344

9.8: Simulating Covariance 348

9.9: Template Method 354

9.10: Timeouts 356

9.11: XAML Readable Types 358

9.12: And in the End... 361

Appendix A: C# Coding Style Conventions 363

A.1: General Style Conventions 364

A.2: Naming Conventions 367

A.3: Comments 368

A.4: File Organization 369

Appendix B: Using FxCop to Enforce the Framework Design Guidelines 371

B.1: What Is FxCop? 371

B.2: The Evolution of FxCop 372

B.3: How Does It Work? 373

B.4: FxCop Guideline Coverage 374

Appendix C: Sample API Specification 405


Glossary 413

Suggested Reading List 419

Index 423


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ISBN-10: 0-321-77063-3

ISBN-13: 978-0-321-77063-9

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