If you’re relatively new to GIS programming like me, you’ll find that finding a good GIS Programming book or manual or online tutorial is nearly impossible. I am not a programmer by training and don’t have a CS degree. As a geologist, I’ve come to GIS from the geo-side. But I would like to pick up enough programming skills to make me a more productive and powerful GIS user/analyst. If that sounds like I want to do merely scripting, maybe so.
I’ve put in some time learning Python using a number of Python books, some better than others, and looking at some online help. But the books cover only Python, and the ArcGIS specific stuff online is very basic, gets your mouth-watering, and then leaves you to your own devices.
When it comes to development with C#, it’s even more difficult. I’ve only glanced at Visual Basic or VBA, and wasn’t encouraged to spend more time since ArcGIS 10 will be the last version to support VBA (and here). But at least there was lots of information on how to get started with VBA, e.g. BoxShapedWorld. With C#, I feel like I’m having to bridge the chasm between the easy-to-follow instruction for VBA and the resources directed at the hardcore-C# developer… hahaha. Well something like that.
I enjoyed the first few chapters of “C# Unleashed“. But when I picked it up again last night to find some help with my problem, I quickly got frustrated because I didn’t feel like part of the intended audience for this text. Fortunately, I also had a copy of Beginning Visual C# 2005 Express Edition. With this one, I felt like diving in. It takes more of a hands-on approach, rather than a let-me-tell-you-everything-and-then-some approach.
My first encounter with C# code was baffling. I decided to print out the code for the project and ended up with four pages! And all the curly braces take some getting used to. As someone who wants to start learning the language while starting to use existing snippets, it would sure help to know how the different parts of the program all work together. That’s exactly what chapters 1 and 2 of Beginning Visual C# 2005 Express Edition are all about. Hopefully this will be a gentler intro to the .NET/C# newbie although, of course, it lacks any reference to or help with ArcGIS.
The ESRI tutorial I started this week is not bad, but again, I didn’t feel like it was addressing my kind of audience – the person with no .NET background. One neat little tutorial can be found here – GIS Lab: Program in ArcGIS using the .NET framework and C#. I just wish it had been 12 chapters instead of just this one.
I might have to try Geospatial Training’s course: Programming ArcObjects with .NET. The course sounds just like what I need. My only hesitation is that I didn’t enjoy their download for Geoprocessing with Python.