C Sharp, more commonly referred to as "C#", is a general-purpose, object-oriented programming language. C# was developed by Anders Hejlsberg and his development team at Microsoft and is currently on version 7.3. It is part of the .NET Framework and is intended to be a simple general-purpose programming language that can be used to develop different types of application, including console, Windows web and mobile applications.
C# has its roots in the family of C languages. It inherits most of its features from C, C++, and Java. For this reason, programmers familiar with these languages may be able to get up to speed with C# in a shorter time span.
C# is an object-oriented language that provides support for component-oriented and functional programming.
Classes and Objects
Classes allow us to model everyday objects in the world around us in software. You can create custom classes to represent just about anything. Just like a noun is a person, place or thing in language, so too, a classes represents objects.
When you write C# code, typically it is because you need a program that does something useful. In the case of a business need, you follow requirements that the business needs. Say your business comes to you and asks you for an electronic database of books. They need to be able to store book titles, authors, compute statistics like the number of checkouts in a given month, or a monthly average. The requirements describe the program that needs to be developed. How do you write a program for the given requirements? Generally, we use classes to create abstractions for the different nouns that we need to work with, a noun such as a book, author, or title.
An important concept in C# is that the class definition is used to create instances of objects. You can think of it as a blueprint for creating instances of objects. The class definition allows the creation of objects that store a reference to that object. For example, say we want to create a new book object. The line of code looks like this:
<code> Book book = new Book(); </code><br>
This creates a new book object that we can use to manipulate data and store it in a database. The variable, book, is actually a reference type of
Book (with a capital B). The
new keyword is used to create a new instance of the object. We can use methods available in the class definition with that variable, book, such as
Features of C
- Automatic Garbage Collection
- Exception Handling
- LINQ (Language-Integrated Query) and Lambda Expressions
New Features Added in C# 7.0
- New syntax to work with Tuples
- Pattern Matching with Is Expressions
- Local Functions
- Return by Reference
- Out Variables
- Literal improvements
- Generalized Async Return Types
- More Expression-Bodied Members
- Throw Expressions
- Record Type
- Minimizing OUT
- Non-'NULL' able reference type
You can use C# to create Windows client applications, XML Web services, distributed components, client-server applications, database applications, and much more.
ASP.NET, .Net Core and .NET Applications
The C# language is also used with the ASP.NET framework, developed by Microsoft Corp., specifically for creating web applications that are machine and browser independent. The broader .NET framework, also developed by Microsoft, is used for creating other types of applications such as desktop, mobile, server, and networking applications. The .NET Framework includes the .NET Base Class Libraries (BCL), ASP.NET, ADO.NET, Windows Forms, Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF), and eXtensible Markup Language(XML) libraries.
More recently, Microsoft Corp. released .NET Core, which is an open-source, cross-platform framework. The original purpose of .NET Core was to allow developers to use the .NET eco-system to develop and run applications across various platforms (macOS for example). It supports Web applications(MVC), console-based applications, and unit tests. However, compared with the ASP.NET framework, it does not have a comprehensive list of APIs in its Base Class Libraries(BCL).
For more information on ASP.NET, see the topic ASP.NET in the freeCodeCamp guide.
For more information on .NET core, please visit the MS .NET Core Guide.