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[.net] managed api reference

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Hello! I am pretty new to C# and what I find extremely frustrating is finding the proper API calls and their documentation. I find it very easy finding the proper calls using google for the standard Win32 api but the .net stuff sigh... It is probably there only if I could find it among the C/C++ stuff... And, maybe it is me that is totally useless, but I just can't use msdn search if I dont know the EXACT API call already, otherwise I usually end up with irrelevant stuff. HOW do YOU reference the api???

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You cannot reference the API very well from absolutely no reasonable guess of what / where what you are looking for would be. This is kind of an unfortunate side effect of having 3 levels of organization instead of 1 (namespace, class, methods vs. methods). However, the good news is that once you find something remotely close to what you are looking for, navigating from their to the exact piece you are trying to locate is not too hard - from a "not quite right" class or method you usually drill up one level ... look around, then drill up one more level if necessary.

One keys is this - when you are looking for something on MSDN type "Class.Method" into the index and you will find exactly what you want. Another good starting point is the namespace overview page which exists for each namespace "System.Windows.Forms" or "System.Data", etc.

I find I do a LOT of navigational clicking, cause they don't usually put all the info in one description anymore ... such as: first find the function, then lookup the enum it uses, then go back to function and reread behavior details, then follow link to custom struct argument, read details ... viola - understanding in 5 easy steps :)

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Also, if you don't know what the class and namespace are, but you can make some guesses about the function name, you can use the object browser. Go to View->Object Browser and there's a search box there. (I'm assuming you're using Visual Studio 2005, older versions might have had the object browser under View->Other Windows->Object Browser, I don't remember quite right :(

But the search function there will give you namespace.class.function name, making it easy to look up in the documentation.

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