Introduction to the C# Language (Part 1)
Posted by Samath
Last Updated: March 14, 2012
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C# syntax is highly expressive, yet with less than 90 keywords, it is also simple and easy to learn. The curly-brace syntax of C# will be instantly recognizable to anyone familiar with C, C++ or Java. Developers who know any of these languages are typically able to begin working productively in C# within a very short time. C# syntax simplifies many of the complexities of C++ while providing powerful features such as nullable value types, enumerations, delegates, anonymous methods and direct memory access, which are not found in Java. C# also supports generic methods and types, which provide increased type safety and performance, and iterators, which enable implementers of collection classes to define custom iteration behaviors that are simple to use by client code.

As an object-oriented language, C# supports the concepts of encapsulation, inheritance and polymorphism. All variables and methods, including the Main method, the application's entry point, are encapsulated within class definitions. A class may inherit directly from one parent class, but it may implement any number of interfaces. Methods that override virtual methods in a parent class require the override keyword as a way to avoid accidental redefinition. In C#, a struct is like a lightweight class; it is a stack-allocated type that can implement interfaces but does not support inheritance.

In addition to these basic object-oriented principles, C# facilitates the development of software components through several innovative language constructs, including:

  • Encapsulated method signatures called delegates, which enable type-safe event notifications.

  • Properties, which serve as accessors for private member variables.

  • Attributes, which provide declarative metadata about types at run time.

  • Inline XML documentation comments.

If you need to interact with other Windows software such as COM objects or native Win32 DLLs, you can do this in C# through a process called "Interop." Interop enables C# programs to do just about anything that a native C++ application can do. C# even supports pointers and the concept of "unsafe" code for those cases in which direct memory access is absolutely critical.

The C# build process is simple compared to C and C++ and more flexible than in Java. There are no separate header files, and no requirement that methods and types be declared in a particular order. A C# source file may define any number of classes, structs, interfaces, and events.

   
  
 
 
   

 
 
Very good info