The C# programming language is a powerful and, at some nine years old,
relatively mature descendant of the earlier C, C++, and Java languages.
Programming with C# is lots of fun, as you’re about to find out in this book.
Microsoft created C# as a major part of its .NET initiative. The company
turned over the specifications for the C# language to the ECMA (pronounced
“ek-ma”) international standards committee in the summer of 2000 so that
any company can, in theory, come up with its own version of C# written to
run on any operating system, on any machine larger than a calculator.
When the first edition of this book was published, the Microsoft C# compiler
was the only game in town, and its Visual Studio .NET suite of tools was the
only way to program C# (other than at the Windows command line). Since
then, however, Visual Studio has undergone three major revisions — the
latest is Visual Studio 2010. And, at least two other players have entered the
C# game.
You can now write and compile C# programs on Windows and a variety of
Unix-based machines using implementations of .NET and C#, such as Mono
(www. mono-project.com), an open source software project sponsored
by Novell Corporation. Version 1.2 was released in November 2006. Though
Mono lags Microsoft .NET by half a version or so, it appears to be moving
fast, having implemented basically all of .NET 1.1 and much of .NET 2.0,
along with those versions of C#.

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