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C# is an object-oriented programming language developed by Microsoft as part of their .NET initiative. Microsoft based C# on C and Java. C# was designed as a language that would provide a balance of C with rapid development, Visual Basic, Delphi, and Java.

Contents

Language Characteristics

C# is, in some sense, the programming language which most directly reflects the underlying .NET Framework on which all .NET programs run, and it depends strongly on this framework; there is no such thing as an unmanaged C# program. Its primitive datatypes are objects of the corresponding .NET types, it is garbage-collected, and many of its abstractions, such as its classes, interfaces, delegates, exceptions, and so on, expose explicit features of the .NET runtime.

Compared to C and C , the language is restricted or enhanced in a number of ways, including but not limited to the following:

  • C# is tied to the Windows platform (end user must have .Net framework installed). Unofficial support for Linux is provided in the shape of Mono
  • The Managed DirectX classes were designed for use in C# and make using DX easy.
  • Raw pointers and unchecked arithmetic can only be used in a special unsafe mode. Most object access is done through safe references, which cannot be made invalid, and most arithmetic is checked for overflow.
  • Objects cannot be explicitly freed, but instead are garbage collected when no more references to them exist.
  • As in Java, only single inheritance is available, but a class can implement any number of abstract interfaces. This functions mainly to simplify the runtime's implementation.
  • C# is more typesafe than C . The only implicit conversions by default are safe conversions, such as widening of integers and conversion from a derived type to a base type. There are no implicit conversions between booleans and integers, between enumeration members and integers, no void pointers (although references to Object are similar), and any user-defined implicit conversion must be explicitly marked as such, unlike C 's copy constructors.
  • Syntax for array declaration is different ("int[] a = new int[5]" instead of "int a[5]").
  • C# has no templates, but C# 2.0 has generics, and these support some features not supported by C templates such as type constraints on generic parameters. On the other hand, expressions cannot be used as generic parameters as in C templates.
  • Full reflection is available.

Although C# is often considered similar to Java, there are also a number of notable differences with this language as well, including the following:

  • Java does not have operator overloading.
  • Java does not have an unsafe mode permitting native pointer manipulation and unchecked arithmetic.
  • Java has checked exceptions, while C# exceptions are unchecked, as in C .
  • C# has a goto control flow construct not found in Java.
  • Java uses Javadoc-syntax comments to automatically generate documentation from source files. C# uses XML-based comments for this purpose.
  • C# supports checked arithmetic.
  • C# supports indexers.
  • C# greatly simplifies event-driven programming through language constructs like events and delegates.
  • C# supports structures in addition to classes. Structures, known in the .NET Framework as value types, are comparable to C structures, in that they need not be heap-allocated and can limit the number of dereferences needed to access data; see value type.
  • C# has a unified object model for value-types and objects (There is no difference between "int" and "System.Int32").

Portability

C# is a ECMA and ISO standardized language. There are currently a number of C# implementations. More information can be found here.

C# Roguelikes

C# has only been used for a few roguelikes so far:

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