C# FAQ 2.1 - How do I begin programming with C#?
To begin programming with C#, you first need to install a C# compiler. You can either use a command line compiler available from Microsoft or third party compiler kit such as the one developed by Mono. Microsoft's C# compiler is widely used by many developers as the Mono
compiler kit is not yet fully developed. In addition to this you can also build
C# applications with Visual C# .NET. It is a robust development tool used for
developing all kinds of C# applications.
Is it necessary to install Visual C# .NET to build C# applications?
No! It is not necessary. A command line compiler is sufficient to learn C#. Visual C# .NET is only used to simplify the development process.
Microsoft's C# compiler is available in the form of a package called the .NET Software Development Kit (SDK). A latest version of this kit can be downloaded from
You will also find this kit along with many programming magazine CD's or from
popular C# books such as Sams Teach Yourself the C# language in 21 Days.
After the kit has been downloaded, you have to install it. The installation process normally takes between 15-30 minutes depending upon the speed of your computer and is self explanatory. The setup will automatically register the required environment variables and hence you can straight away start programming with C# after the completion of its installation.
Is it necessary to install .NET SDK and Visual Studio
During the course of its installation, setup will request you to run windows update. This update will install Microsoft Data Access Components which is required for developing database and ASP.NET applications. If you have purchased Visual Studio .NET, then you will have a separate CD titled "Visual Studio .NET prerequisites". It contains all the essential components required for running Visual Studio .NET setup.
Note:To test whether .NET Framework has been successfully installed on your system, go to command prompt and enter csc. If the system returns a fatal error message titled "No Inputs Specified" with the code CS 2008 then the installation is perfect.
All C# error messages are documented with codes. These messages will become familiar to you as you gain more experience with C#.
Can I install Mono C# compiler kit on Windows?
In addition to Microsoft's C# compiler you also have an option to install Mono C# compiler kit available from www.go-mono.com. Mono is a project started to create .NET compilers meant for platforms other than Windows, such as Linux. But the project is still under development and with each release of the kit more features and additional support for namespaces are added.
The upcoming version of the Mono compiler kit promises to provide support for Windows Forms, ASP.NET and ADO.NET. Moreover, the new compiler will also provide database connectivity support for MySQL databases.
About the Author
Anand Narayanaswamy (Microsoft MVP) is a freelance writer for Developer.com and Codeguru.com. He works as an independent consultant and runs NetAns Technologies (http://www.netans.com)which provides low cost domain registration and web hosting services. Anand also runs LearnXpress.com (http://www.learnXpress.com) and Dotnetalbum.com (http://www.dotnetalbum.com) and regularly contributes product and book reviews for various websites. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.