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Get C#

Welcome, here we will look at how you can get C#.

This article describes how you would get C#, so this article is useful for someone who would like to get into using C#, a starting point in using C#.

So just before we show you how to get C#, a quick history of C# would help you get up to speed. Microsoft released C# several years ago now and focused it on different types of software application, Web Applications and Windows Applications.  C# Web Applications (ASP.NET) allow us to create websites using C#.  C# Windows Applications allows us to create an application which runs on Windows, so a Windows Application needs to be installed on a user's machine before the user can use it, whereas a Web Application can be run by anyone with an internet connection and a web browser (such as Internet Explorer or Firefox) without having to download the software.

The Microsoft.NET Framework (usually referred to as .NET pronounced DOT NET) allows us to create C# programs.  There are now several versions of the .NET Framework, as time goes on Microsoft work on improving C# and the .NET Framework and release new versions every couple of years or so. New versions of .NET simply add enhancement to previous versions, so when you understand one version, you pick up the other versions quite quickly.  Currently (at the time of writing November 2011), .NET 4.0 is the latest version:

Microsoft provide the .NET Framework for free, you can obtain it here.

Or go to the Microsoft site and use the search to find the .NET Framework for download - www.microsoft.com

Visual Studio is a great tool provided by Microsoft which makes life a lot easier to program with C#, currently on Visual Studio 2010. You can get it here at http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-gb/vstudio/products/default.aspx. However, you have to pay for that version, although you can usually find some free trials available.  It is highly recommended for working with C# on a professional basis.

You can get a version of Visual Studio for free, although it is a slightly stripped down, it functions nearly the same as the full version, and allows you to develop software using C#.  The free versions are called the Express Editions. There are different versions, depending on whether you are going to be creating Web Applications or Windows Applications. For developing Web Applications (websites) you'll want the Visual Web Developer 2010 Express Edition, and if you want to develop Windows Applications then you'll want the Visual C# 2010 Express Edition. The 2010 versions of Visual Studio come with the latest .NET Framework v4.0.

Once you have .NET installed and even one of the Visual Studio packages, you'll be ready to start working with C# and creating your first applications.