The C# programming language is a modern, object-oriented language created by Microsoft for the .NET Framework. C# (pronounced “see sharp”) builds upon some of the best features of the major programming languages. It combines the power of C++ with the simplicity of Visual Basic and also borrows much from Java. This results in a language that is easy to learn and use, robust against errors and that enables rapid application development. All this is achieved without sacrificing much of the power or speed, when compared to C++.
In the years following its release in 2002, C# has become the third most popular programming language – after Java and C/C++ – and its popularity keeps growing. Whether you code video games, or banners for O2.co.uk, it is difficult not to be aware of this .NET language. It is a general-purpose programming language, so it is useful for creating a wide range of programs. Everything from small utilities to computer games, desktop applications or even operating systems can be built in C#. The language can also be used with ASP.NET to create web based applications.
When developing in .NET, programmers are given a wide range of choice as to which programming language to use. Some of the more popular .NET languages include: VB.NET, C++/CLI, J#, F# and C#. Among these, C# is often the language of choice. Like the other .NET languages, C# is initially compiled to an intermediate language. This language is called the Common Intermediate Language (CIL) and is run on the .NET Framework. A .NET program will therefore be able to execute on any system that has that framework installed.
The .NET Framework is a software framework that includes a common execution engine and a rich class library. It runs on Microsoft Windows and is therefore only used for writing Windows applications. However, there are also cross-platform ports available, the two largest being Mono and DotGNU. These are both open source projects that allow .NET applications to be run on other platforms, such as Linux, Mac OS X and embedded systems.
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