CodeNotes provides the most succinct, accurate, and speedy way for a developer to ramp up on a new technology or language. Unlike other programming books, CodeNotes drills down to the core aspects of a technology, focusing on the key elements needed in order to understand it quickly and implement it immediately.
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Random House Trade Paperbacks
December 09, 2002
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Excerpt from CodeNotes for C# by Gregory Brill
Innovation is the hallmark of the software industry. Like clockwork, the widespread adoption of a particular standard is frequently accompanied by the introduction of a new one. Programming languages are no exception. Drawing upon both theory and practice, a new language will often address the shortcomings and limitations of its predecessors while boasting innovations to boot. So it is with C#.
As you have likely heard, C# (pronounced "C-Sharp") is a new programming language designed by Microsoft. Although the spectrum of existing documentation on C# can give varying impressions as to its place within the software development community, a diagnosis of the language is prone to the following two distinct observations:
1. Formally, C# is a specification for a computer language that Microsoft announced in June 2000. Syntactically, the language is similar to C++ and Java, eliminating (or obscuring) many of the complexities of the former while improving on some of the conventions of the latter. The C# specification was recently ratified by the European Computer Manufacturers Association (ECMA), which means that other vendors can provide their own implementations of the language. Therefore, writing C# applications for operating systems other than Windows will be possible (in fact, as we will see, it is already possible).
2. Practically, C# is the "native" language of the .NET Framework, which is Microsoft's new strategy for the development and deployment of software. As we will see throughout this book, in addition to revamping significant portions of Windows architecture, .NET improves upon existing Microsoft technologies such as ActiveX Data Objects (ADO, for database access) and Active Server Pages (ASP, for web development). Furthermore, .NET introduces some fundamentally new concepts into the realm of software development, such as cross-language inheritance and component versioning through public-key cryptography.