To use a programming language, you must master the fundamentals. You need to understand the elements required to construct a working program, and learn how to use the development tools to build and run code. You also need to become familiar with the everyday features for representing information, performing calculations, and making decisions. This chapter will introduce these core features of the C# language.
We’ll be working in Visual Studio, the Microsoft development environment. There are other ways to build C# programs, but Visual Studio is the most widely used and it’s freely available, so we’ll stick with that.
If you don’t have Visual Studio, you can download the free Express edition from http://www.microsoft.com/express/.
In the first part of this chapter, we’ll create a very simple program so that you can see the bare minimum of steps required to get up and running. We’ll also examine all of the pieces Visual Studio creates for you so that you know exactly what the development environment is doing for you. And then we’ll build some slightly more interesting examples to explore the C# language.
To create a new C# program, select the File→New Project menu option, or just use the Ctrl-Shift-N shortcut. This will open Visual Studio’s New Project dialog, shown in Figure 2-1, where you can pick the kind of program you want to build. In the Installed Templates list on the lefthand side, ensure that the Visual C# item is expanded, ...