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C# FAQ 1.3 - What Are the Requirements for Developing a C# Application?

  • By Anand Narayanaswamy
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First, you should ensure that appropriate hardware and software requirements for developing a C# application have been fulfilled. A simple C# console application can be developed on a system with 32 MB or 64 MB of RAM. The only factor is that the installation of the .NET SDK will take too much time on a system with this configuration. If using Visual Studio .NET, then I recommend that you install on a system having 128 MB of RAM or higher for faster compilation and execution of projects.

In regard to software requirements, the .NET Framework applications can be developed, tested, and deployed under the following operating environments

  • Microsoft Windows "Longhorn"
  • Microsoft Windows Server 2003
  • Microsoft Windows XP Professional
  • Microsoft Windows XP Home
  • Microsoft Windows 2000

With Longhorn, Windows Server 2003, Windows XP professional, and Windows 2000 you can develop all kinds of C# applications (Console, Windows Forms, ASP.NET, Web Services, and User Controls). Further, you also can install Visual C# .NET under these operating systems. Visual C# .NET is a development tool that ships with Visual Studio .NET.

Microsoft Windows, code named "Longhorn," will support C# 2.0; however, Longhorn is still in the alpha stage and is at present available only to a limited group of users. It is expected to ship in 2006.

Even though you can install .NET Framework on Windows XP Home, you cannot run ASP.NET and Web Services applications on the basic Windows XP Home installation. This is because this edition doesn't come with Internet Information Server (IIS). The .NET Framework cannot be installed on 64-bit computers: Windows 98, Windows Millennium Edition, and Windows NT 4.0.

Users should install the .NET Framework Redistributable on their systems to install and run your C# applications. The installation of the Redistributable package is required only if the end user don't have the .NET Framework on their system. It can be installed under the following platforms:

  • Microsoft Windows "Longhorn"
  • Microsoft Windows Server 2003
  • Microsoft Windows XP Professional
  • Microsoft Windows XP Home
  • Microsoft Windows 2000
  • Microsoft Windows Millennium
  • Microsoft Windows 98
  • Microsoft Windows NT 4.0 with Service Pack 6a

Even though the redistributable can be installed on the above operating systems, your users can run ASP.NET and Web Services applications only on Longhorn, Windows Server 2003, Windows XP Professional, and Windows 2000.

On the Web

A detailed list of system requirements for installing the .NET Framework and .NET Framework Redistributable can be found at: http://msdn.microsoft.com/netframework/productinfo/sysreqs/default.aspx.


Linux also supports C# with the help of the Mono C# compiler Kit. You will find more information regarding Mono from http://www.go-mono.com.

Second, you have to install the .NET Framework Software Development Kit 1.1 (SDK) on your system or on the Web server (if you are a Web administrator). The SDK can be downloaded from the Microsoft Web site, located at http://msdn.microsoft.com/downloads/. In addition to the SDK, you should also install Microsoft Data Access components 2.7 or higher to successfully compile and run database and ASP.NET applications. You will learn more about the installation of the .NET Framework SDK in Part 2 of C# - Learning with the FAQ's.


Longhorn and Windows Server 2003 ship with the .NET Framework; hence, there is no need to install the SDK separately. However, it doesn't ship with Visual Studio .NET. The .NET SDK also doesn't ship with Visual Studio .NET.

Finally, you require an editor to enter the code for your programs. In programming parlance, such code is called source code. Source code is nothing more than syntaxes that adhere to the C# language conventions. Although a simple editor such as Notepad is sufficient to use to learn C#, Microsoft Visual C# .NET is one of the most powerful development environment available today for developing all kinds of C# applications. It offers many advanced functionalities than a traditional editor such as Notepad and it significantly reduces the development time of projects. However, Visual C# .NET is not compulsorily for learning C#. You will learn more about Visual C# .NET in Part 2 of C# - Learning with the FAQ's.

Many third-party vendors have released editors for programming with C# and other .NET languages. Notable among them are SharpDevelop, Borland's C#Builder, and Antechinus C# Editor. You create C# programs with these editors as well as create other files such as HTML, XML, and XSL. All you have to do is to obtain the editor by either purchasing it or by downloading and installing it.

On the Web

Borland's C# Builder—http://www.borland.com/csharpbuilder
Antechinus C# Editor—http://www.c-point.com

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 23, 2004

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