Charles Petzold


Windows Pioneer

Charles Petzold has been writing about Windows programming for 25 years. Petzold, a Windows Pioneer Award winner, is the author of classic Windows programming, the widely acclaimed Code: The Hidden Language of Computer Hardware and Software, Programming Windows Phone 7, and a dozen other books.


He graduated from the Stevens Institute of Technology with a Master's in Mathematics in 1975. In addition to writing programming books for Windows, he has written for various computer magazines.
He was interested in electronic music and in 1977 he started building electronic musical instruments from CMOS chips. In 1979, Petzold began building a computer-controlled digital electronic music synthesizer based on the Zilog Z80 microprocessor.  This experience with digital circuitry and assembly language programming became the basis of his book, Code: The Hidden Language of Computer Hardware and Software.


  • Creating Mobile Apps with Xamarin.Forms Cross-platform C# programming for iOS, Android, and Windows Phone 
  • Programming Windows Sixth Edition Writing Windows 8 Apps with C# and XAML (Microsoft Press, 2012, 1136 pages)
  • Programming Windows Phone 7 Series (Microsoft Press, This book is currently out and was first published in the fall of 2010) 
  • The Annotated Turing: A Guided Tour through Alan Turing's Historic Paper on Computability and the Turing Machine (Wiley, 2008)
  • 3D Programming for Windows - Three-Dimensional Graphics Programming for the Windows Presentation Foundation (Microsoft Press, 2007)
  • .NET Book Zero What the C or C++ Programmer Needs to Know about C# and the .NET Framework (free download)
  • Applications = Code + Markup - A Guide to the Microsoft Windows Presentation Foundation (Microsoft Press, 2006)
  • Programming Microsoft Windows Forms (Microsoft Press, 2005; 384 pages)
  • Programming in the Key of C#: A Primer for Aspiring Programmers (Microsoft Press, 2003; 418 pages)
  • Programming Microsoft Windows with C# (Microsoft Press, 2001; 1290 pages)
  • Code: The Hidden Language of Computer Hardware and Software (Microsoft Press, 1999; 393 pages)
  • Programming Windows, Fifth Edition (Microsoft Press, 1998; 1479 pages)


I grew up in New Jersey and attended the Stevens Institute of Technology. After graduating with a bachelor's and master's degree in mathematics in 1975, I moved to New York and worked for a large insurance company for 10 years. Although not an actuary, I have performed actuarial work and PL / I programming for individual health insurance product development.

In 1984, I started writing for PC Magazine, which led to a full-time freelance career that included writing for Microsoft Systems Journal and MSDN magazines. My book Programming Windows was published in six editions between 1988 and 2012, and I have also written books on OS / 2, Windows Forms, Windows Presentation Foundation, and the C # programming language. In 2014, I started working as a full time employee for Xamarin (which was acquired in 2016 by Microsoft), where I wrote a book and documentation on Xamarin.Forms.

In September 2018, I retired after a 34-year career of writing, speaking, and thinking about application programming interfaces. Links to my books and articles from this career are available on my old website.