In our last tutorial, we learned about the advantages of developing software in the C# programming language and .NET Framework. In today’s programming tutorial, we will look at the flipside, as we uncover the disadvantages of C# software development and where it is lacking a coding language.
If you missed our last article, you can check it out here: Advantages of Programming in C#.
What is C#
C# is a Microsoft developed programming language that works alongside the .NET Framework and common runtime language (CLR), and follows the international common language infrastructure (CLI) standard, designed to adhere that programming languages and libraries are compatible and work together.
More specifically, C# – pronounced “Sea Sharp” – is a structured, type-safe, object-oriented programming language. It is considered high-level, meaning that a compiler interprets the code that you write into a low-level machine language for the computer to understand the instructions you are issuing it.
The term “structured” means that there is a structure to the way your code is input. Code is broken down into smaller modules, each developed to tackle a task that the overall program is intended to perform. This structuring of code makes applications and code easier to read, understand, debug, and maintain – creating an overall more efficient codebase.
Type-safe refers to how C# handles data types. That is to say, C# data types are only able to interact through the use of protocols defined by the data type. For example, a programmer cannot make an integer (a numeric value) behave in the same manner as a string Ia text-based value). This important feature helps to prevent errors that occur when a developer tries to perform actions on a data type as though it were of another type.
Object-oriented – or object oriented programming (OOP) – meanwhile, is a programming paradigm which uses the concept of classes (think of them as blueprints) to create objects (the thing created from the blueprint) to structure programs and code. OOP code is easier to maintain, read, re-use, and fix; it also reduces the occurrence of errors and increases the speed at which a program can be created, as commonly used sections of code can be encapsulated and re-used without the programmer having to manually retype in code each time.
You can learn more about Object Oriented Programming in our tutorial: C# Object Oriented Programming for Beginners.
You can learn more about C# and the .NET Framework in our tutorial: C# for Beginners.
What are the Disadvantages of Programming in C#?
We discuss those disadvantages in the following sections.
C# Performance Issues
When we speak about performance in terms of a programming language and software development, we measure that time through how long compilation takes, in addition to the speed of the application itself. When compared to other languages, like C++ and C, C# is slower. This is because C# must be compiled into an intermediary language, then into machine language prior to being executed.
In most cases, you will not notice this difference, but in larger applications, such as game development, it will be perceivable..
C# Is A Moderately Difficult Language To Learn
When compared to languages in its class like Python, Perl, PHP, or Ruby, C# is a more difficult programming language to learn. Those four languages, in particular, are very easy to read and understand their code intention even for non-coders (mostly), while C# can be a little more difficult to read unless you know the language decently well.
On the flipside of that statement, C# is a lot easier to learn than many other programming languages. In particular, C# is easier to learn than C++ or C. You could say it is on par with learning Java. If you know one of the C-family of languages (C, C++, or Java), learning C# becomes much easier – and vice versa.
The same can be said of any programming language truthfully, as all languages follow the same core principles and concepts – with deviations obviously.
To help lessen this disadvantage, would-be C# programmers can take advantage of the mountains of tutorials, books, forums, and online resources to make learning the language easier.
In fact, if you prefer to learn in an online course environment, we have a list of the Top Online Courses to Learn C# Programming to help get you started.
If you are looking to perform low-level programming tasks like interact directly with hardware, create drivers, or mess with firmware, you will need to look elsewhere, as C# does not have this functionality. You can use C# for embedded programming and coding for the Internet of Things (IoT), but true low-level coding is not a feature of C#.
C# Is Compiled
While there are benefits to compiled code – namely that it is faster and executes more efficiently than interpreted code – working with code that needs to be compiled can be a little bit of a pain in the neck, as you must re-compile your code every time you make a change – no matter how minor that change may be.
Failing to test even minor code changes can lead to compilation errors that can be laborious to figure out and track down.
Final Thoughts on C# Disadvantages
Despite the disadvantages listed in this programming tutorial, C#’s many advantages far outweigh any reason a developer would have to not learn the language. C# is in the top five programming languages in the world – and with good reason. It is powerful, moderately difficult to learn, is backed by Microsoft, and is interoperable with the C-family of programming languages. It can be used to develop desktop applications, mobile apps, video games, and everything in between Because of these factors, and more, programmers should not be deterred from learning this popular coding language.