Excursion into Visual C#

Brains-n-brawn pique me to take a closer look at what Microsoft Visual Studio and the .NET framework has to offer. Brains-n-brawn is a spectacular site with lots of projects which the author has written herself. Because I was really impressed with what I saw, I downloaded Visual C# 2005 Express Edition today to play around with it. I have yet to find out whether this uses features of C# 2.0 as mentioned here. As a college student, I have access to Visual Studio 2003 as part of the MSDN Academic Alliance Program but I am really interested to see how much better C# 2.0 is compared to its previous incarnations.

Well, Visual C# 2005 Express Edition (that is really a mouthful!) downloaded fine into my computer. Surprisingly the download was only about 50MB without the extra documentation but it required a whopping 800MB to install. And this includes only Visual C# Express Edition and the SQL Express Edition. I kind of expected Microsoft to try and bundle something along, and true enough, SQL Express Edition was part of the deal. Also, there was enough hints at ASP.NET and other Microsoft technologies that you could sense that Microsoft was trying really hard to tie you down to their technologies. There is hardly any mention of open source alternatives and how Visual C# interacts with them. Not that it was unexpected. Also, you could optionally not install SQL Express Edition but knowing Microsoft, some of the examples are bound to require it so might as well do it now.

I have never used Visual Studio before because it is very much oriented toward Windows development. So, I was pleasantly surprised with what it has to offer. As usual, there are some annoying feature that I would like to customize but do not know how yet. But there are good features as well. First, its speed. It performs as snappy as Xcode does for code completion and indentation. It is definitely more snappy than the sluggish and memory hungry Eclipse. Also, their integrated help browser is really nice.

Anyway here is what I do not like so far. Of course, I am sure that there must be some way to alleviate these feelings of annoyance once I get used to the program.

Code Completion
Code Generator

And now what I like:

Overloaded Methods

So what have I done with it? Nothing much yet. Did a simple HelloWorld console program. And also a simple web browser following the instructions here. While I still don't like the idea that it is so tightly integrated with Microsoft's other tools, I do feel that learning C# would be beneficial. And it would be nice to actually see what .NET is all about for myself.

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