C# 2010 All-in-One For Dummies
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C# 2010 All-in-One For Dummies represents a different way of looking at programming languages. Rather than present the standard For Dummies format, which includes only 350 pages on quite a large subject, the book was expanded to include a broader scope and just a few pages were added.
So, although you find all the original C# For Dummies goodness in this book, you also find discussions about Visual Studio, Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF), service-oriented development, Web development, and a host of other topics. This book is a one-stop shop for a C# developer.
The C# programming language is a powerful and, at some nine years old, relatively mature descendant of the earlier C, C++, and Java languages. Programming with C# is lots of fun, as you’re about to find out in this book.
Microsoft created C# as a major part of its .NET initiative. The company turned over the specifications for the C# language to the ECMA (pronounced “ek-ma”) international standards committee in the summer of 2000 so that any company can, in theory, come up with its own version of C# written to run on any operating system, on any machine larger than a calculator.
When the first edition of this book was published, the Microsoft C# compiler was the only game in town, and its Visual Studio .NET suite of tools was the only way to program C# (other than at the Windows command line). Since then, however, Visual Studio has undergone three major revisions — the latest is Visual Studio 2010. And, at least two other players have entered the C# game.
You can now write and compile C# programs on Windows and a variety of Unix-based machines using implementations of .NET and C#, such as Mono (www. mono-project (dot) com), an open source software project sponsored by Novell Corporation. Version 1.2 was released in November 2006. Though Mono lags Microsoft .NET by half a version or so, it appears to be moving fast, having implemented basically all of .NET 1.1 and much of .NET 2.0, along with those versions of C#.
Both Mono and a less well developed competitor, Portable .NET (www.dotgnu (dot) org/pnet.htm), claim to run C# programs on Windows and a variety of Unix flavors, including Linux and the Apple Macintosh operating system. At the time of this writing, Portable .NET reaches the greater number of flavors, whereas Mono boasts a more complete .NET implementation. So choosing between them can be complicated, depending on your project, your platform, and your goals. (Books about programming for these platforms are becoming available already. Check online booksellers.)
Open source software is written by collaborating groups of volunteer programmers and is usually free to the world.
A description of how to make C# and other .NET languages portable to other operating systems is far beyond the scope of this book. But you can expect that within a few years, the C# Windows programs you discover how to write in this book will run on all sorts of hardware under all sorts of operating systems — matching the claim of Sun Microsystems’ Java language to run on any machine. That’s undoubtedly a good thing, even for Microsoft. The road to that point is still under construction, so it’s no doubt riddled with potholes and obstacles to true universal portability for C#. But it’s no longer just Microsoft’s road.
For the moment, however, Microsoft Visual Studio has the most mature versions of C# and .NET and the most feature-filled toolset for programming with them.