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 http://msdn.microsoft.com/library/default.asp?url=/downloads/list/netdevframework.asp. 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 .NET separately?

If you have installed Visual Studio .NET on your system, then there is no need to install .NET SDK separately. Visual Studio .NET comes with .NET Framework SDK.

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?

Yes. While Microsoft's .NET SDK has been designed to work with Windows, Mono C# kit can be installed on both Windows and Linux.

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

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 affordable web hosting services. He is the author of Community Server Quickly (http://www.packtpub.com/community-server/book). 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 ananddotnet@yahoo.co.in


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    • C# Builder is a development tool

      Posted by anand_n on 04/01/2004 11:22pm

      This FAQ discusses only about the different compilers used for developing C# applications. C# Builder is a tool. I mean an editor. I've covered this in FAQ 2.2 which will be published soon. I'm also planning a separate FAQ for C# builder.

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