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C# FAQ 1.2 - What is C#?

  • By Anand Narayanaswamy
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The C# programming language (pronounced "C-Sharp") is one of the most powerful object-oriented programming languages developed by Microsoft. According to them, "C# is a modern, object-oriented language that enables programmers to quickly build a wide range of applications for the new Microsoft .NET platform, which provides tools and services that fully exploit both computing and communications." Actually, C# was originally codenamed "Cool" before being released as a beta in 2000. Microsoft then released different versions of the language including the latest release of C# 2.0. With each release, the product shipped with improved features for developing secured and scalable applications along with high quality documentation and code samples.

C, C++, and Visual Basic 6.0 had dominated the computer industry for the past two decades. The main drawback with these languages is that a programmer has to devote a long time to develop and deploy an application. Also, the syntax used by one language is different from the other; hence, it took a long time for a programmer to migrate between two different languages. Programmers were searching for a programming language that would not only reduce the development time of applications but also to attain good productivity. These difficulties were eliminated with the introduction of C#. This is because all .NET languages, including C#, commonly follow the Common Language Specification (CLS) and target the CLR.

Some of the notable features of the C# programming language are namespaces, type-safe variables, multi-dimensional arrays, jagged arrays, operator overloading, indexers, delegates, versioning, attributes and overriding. C# also comes with features like "pass by reference" and "pass by value" for parameters, XML based documentation with special comment tags, Integration with COM components developed using Visual Studio 6.0. Further, C# has also been approved as an International Standard Organization (ISO) standard. For more details regarding this topic, refer to http://msdn.microsoft.com/net/ecma/.

You can develop console applications (executed from the command prompt), Windows applications, ASP.NET web applications, ASP.NET web services, and Mobile Web Applications, class libraries, Windows control libraries, smart device applications and web control library applications by using the C# language. In addition to these applications, you can also create setup files for your C# projects using Visual C# .NET. You will learn about the development of each one of these applications in forthcoming FAQ's.

About the Author

Anand Narayanaswamy, a Microsoft Most Valuable Professional in Visual C#, works as an independent consultant and technical writer based in Trivandrum, India. He has contributed numerous articles on various topics relating to C# and ASP.NET for developer.com and Codeguru.com. Anand specializes in C#, ASP.NET, Visual Basic .NET, ASP, Visual Basic 6.0, and in the development of courseware, technical articles, documentation, and reviews of products and books. Reach him at ananddotnet@yahoo.co.in

Last updated: 2/5/2004

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This article was originally published on January 22, 2004

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