Fundamental C# Programming

Part 1
Fundamental C#
Programming
In this section you will find:
◆ Chapter 1: Introduction to C#
◆ Chapter 2: Basic C# Programming
◆ Chapter 3: Expressions and Operators
◆ Chapter 4: Decisions, Loops, and Preprocessor Directives
◆ Chapter 5: Object-Oriented Programming
◆ Chapter 6: More about Classes and Objects
◆ Chapter 7: Derived Classes
◆ Chapter 8: Interfaces
◆ Chapter 9: Strings, Dates, Times, and Time Spans
◆ Chapter 10: Arrays and Indexers
◆ Chapter 11: Collections
◆ Chapter 12: Delegates and Events
◆ Chapter 13: Exceptions and Debugging
COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL

Chapter 1
Introduction to C#
In this chapter, you’ll be introduced to the C# language. You’ll see a simple example program
that displays the words Hello World! on your computer’s screen, along with the current date
and time.
You’ll also learn about Microsoft’s Rapid Application Development (RAD) tool, Visual Studio
.NET. Visual Studio .NET enables you to develop and run programs in an integrated development
environment. This environment uses all the great features ofWindows, such as the mouse and intuitive
menus, and increases your productivity as a programmer.
In the final sections of this chapter, you’ll see how to use the extensive documentation from
Microsoft that comes with the .NET Software Development Kit (SDK) and Visual Studio .NET.
This documentation goes well beyond the text of this book, and you’ll find it invaluable as you
become an expert C# programmer.
Note Before you can develop C# programs, you’ll need to install the .NET SDK or Visual Studio .NET. You can
download the .NET SDK at http://msdn.microsoft.com/downloads. Once you’ve downloaded the executable
file, go ahead and run it. Follow the instructions on the screen to install the .NET SDK on your computer. You can also
purchase a copy of Visual Studio .NET from Microsoft at their website.
Featured in this chapter:
◆ Building Your First C# Program
◆ Learning about Visual Studio .NET
◆ Working with the .NET Documentation
Developing Your First C# Program
Learning a new programming language is sometimes a daunting task. To get you started, you’ll
begin with a variation on the classic “Hello World” program. This program traditionally starts all
programming books—and who are we to argue with tradition?
The Origins of the “Hello World” Program
As far as we know, the tradition of the “Hello World” program being used to start programming books began
in the seminal work The C Programming Language by Brian Kernighan and Dennis Ritchie (Prentice Hall PTR,
1988). Incidentally, C is one of the languages that C# owes its development to, along with Java and C++.
The following program displays the words Hello World! on your computer’s screen. The program
will also display the current date and time retrieved from your computer. This program, shown in
Listing 1.1, illustrates a few simple tenets of the C# language.
Listing 1.1: The “Hello World” Program
/*
Example1_1.cs: a variation on the classic “Hello World!” program.
This program displays the words “Hello World!” on the screen,
along with the current date and time
*/
class Example1_1
{
public static void Main()
{
// display “Hello World!” on the screen
System.Console.WriteLine(“Hello World!”);
// display the current date and time
System.Console.WriteLine(“The current date and time is “ +
System.DateTime.Now);
}
}
This program is contained in a text file named Example1_1.cs. This file is known as a program
source file, or simply a source file, because it contains the lines that make up the program. You use a compiler
to translate a source file into an executable file that a computer can run; you’ll learn more about
this later in the “Compiling a Program” section.
Note You can download all the source files for the programs featured in this book from the Sybex website at
http://www.sybex.com. You’ll find instructions on downloading these files in the introduction of this book. Once you’ve downloaded
the files, you can follow along with the examples without having to type in the program listings.
4 Chapter 1 INTRODUCTION TO C#
The Example1_1.cs source file contains the lines that make up the “Hello World” program. You’ll
notice that the extension for the Example1_1.cs file is .cs—this is the recommended extension for
C# source files. Because the file is a text file, you can open and view the Example1_1.cs file using a
text editor such as Notepad. Go ahead and open the file if you want.
Tip You can also edit and save source files using Notepad, although as you develop more complex programs you’ll find that
Visual Studio .NET is a much more efficient tool to use. You’ll learn about Visual Studio .NET later in this chapter.
Let’s go through the lines in Example1_1.cs. The first four lines are as follows:
/*
Example1_1.cs: a variation on the classic “Hello World!” program.
This program displays the words “Hello World!” on the screen,
along with the current date and time
*/
The compiler ignores anything placed between the /* and */ characters. They are comments that
we’ve used to inform you what the program does. Later, you’ll see the use of single-line comments
that start with two forward slash characters (//).
The next two lines start a class using the class keyword:
class Example1_1
{
The open curly brace ({) marks the beginning of the Example1_1 class. Similarly, the close curly
brace (}), shown at the end of Listing 1.1, marks the end of the Example1_1 class. As you’ll learn in
Chapter 5, “Object-Oriented Programming,” you use a class to define a template that contains methods
and fields—and you can use this template to create objects of that class.
Methods are self-contained units of code that carry out a specific task, and they typically consist of
one or more program lines. Fields are named storage areas where you can store values. The Example1_1
class doesn’t contain any fields, but it does contain a method named Main().
Note Programs typically contain a Main() method. This method is run, or called, automatically when you run your
program. The exception is a type library, which requires another program to call its functionality and therefore doesn’t
require a Main() method.
In the next section, we’ll take you through the lines in the Main() method.
Understanding the Main()Method
As mentioned, methods typically consist of one or more program lines that carry out the method’s
task. The program lines that make up a method begin and end with open and close curly braces,
respectively. The Main() method in the example “Hello World” program is defined as follows:
public static void Main()
{
// display “Hello World!” on the screen
System.Console.WriteLine(“Hello World!”);
DEVELOPING YOUR FIRST C# PROGRAM 5
// display the current date and time
System.Console.WriteLine(“The current date and time is “ +
System.DateTime.Now);
}
The public keyword is an access modifier that specifies the level of availability of the method
outside of the class; public specifies that the Main() method is available without restriction and may
be called anywhere.
Note You’ll learn more about access modifiers in Chapter 5.
As you’ll learn in Chapter 6, “More about Classes and Objects,” the static keyword indicates that
the Main() method belongs to the class, rather than any particular object of the class. If we didn’t
use the static keyword when defining the method, we would have to first create an object of the class
and then call the method. This may sound a little confusing, but you’ll understand exactly what we
mean after you’ve read Chapters 5 and 6.
Methods can return a value to the statement from which they are called. For example, you might
want to perform some kind of calculation in a method and return the result of that calculation. However,
you may not always want to return a value, and that’s what the void keyword does. As you can see
in the example program, the void keyword indicates that the Main() method doesn’t return a value.
Let’s take a look at the program lines contained within the open and close curly brackets; these
lines carry out the tasks for the method and are run when the Main() method is called. The first program
line is as follows:
// display “Hello World!” on the screen
This line begins with two forward slash characters (//). These indicate that the line is a comment.
As mentioned, the /* and */ characters also mark the beginning and end of comments. The difference
between these two ways of marking lines as comments is that the // characters mark a single
line as a comment, whereas the /* and */ characters mark multiple lines as comments. You’ll learn
more about comments in Chapter 2, “Basic C# Programming.”
The second program line in the Main() method is as follows:
System.Console.WriteLine(“Hello World!”);
This line calls the WriteLine() method. This method displays a line of output on your computer’s
screen. In the example program, the call to this method displays a line containing the words Hello World!
As you’ll learn in Chapter 6, namespaces separate class declarations, and System is a namespace created
by Microsoft. The System namespace contains a number of useful classes you can use in your programs,
and you’ll see some of them in this book. The Console class is one of the classes in the System namespace.
The Console class contains methods you can use to display output on a computer’s screen.
Note The Console class also contains methods you can use to read input from the computer’s keyboard, and you’ll see
how to do that in Chapter 2.
As you can see from the previous line, a period (.) separates the System namespace, the Console
class, and the WriteLine() method. The period is known as the dot operator, and it may be used to
6 Chapter 1 INTRODUCTION TO C#
separate the namespace, class, and method parts of a program line. You’ll learn more about the dot
operator in Chapter 5.
The third line in the Main() method is another single line comment:
// display the current date and time
The fourth line in the Main() method displays the current date and time:
System.Console.WriteLine(“The current date and time is “ +
System.DateTime.Now);
As you can see, this line uses System.DateTime.Now to display the current date and time. Now is a
property of DateTime that returns the current date and time set for the computer on which the program
is running. You’ll learn all about properties in Chapter 6. In a nutshell, the Now property reads
the current date and time from your computer. Now is a static property, which means you can call it
without first creating a DateTime object.
The remaining lines in Example1_1.cs contain close curly braces that end the Main() method and
the Example1_1 class.
Compiling a Program
A program source file is written in text that you can read. Unfortunately, a computer cannot directly
run the instructions contained in that source file, and you must first compile that file using a piece of
software known as a compiler. The compiler reads your program source file and converts the instructions
contained in that file into code that a computer may then run, or execute. The file produced by
the compiler is known as an executable file. Once you’ve compiled your program, you can then run it.
You can compile a program using either the command-line compiler that comes with the .NET
SDK, or you can use Visual Studio .NET. In this section, you’ll see how to use the command-line
version of the compiler to compile the Example1_1.cs program. Later in the “Introducing Visual
Studio .NET” section you’ll see how to use Visual Studio .NET to compile a program.
You run the command-line version of the compiler by entering csc in the Command Prompt tool,
followed by the name of your program source file. For example, to compile Example1_1.cs, you would
enter the following command in the Command Prompt tool:
csc Example1_1.cs
Note You can also enter one or more options that are then passed to the compiler. These options control things like the name
of the executable file produced by the compiler. You can see the full list of options in Appendix B, “C# Compiler Options.”
You can also view the compiler options by entering csc /help in the Command Prompt tool.
If you want to follow along with the examples, go ahead and start the Command Prompt tool by
selecting Start ➢ Programs ➢ Accessories ➢ Command Prompt.
Note If you’re using Windows XP rather than Windows 2000, you start the Command Prompt tool by selecting
Start ➢All Programs ➢Accessories ➢ Command Prompt.
Next, you need to change directories to where you copied the Example1_1.cs file. To do this, you
first enter the partition on your hard disk where you saved the file. For example, let’s say you saved
DEVELOPING YOUR FIRST C# PROGRAM 7
the file in the C#\programs directory of the C partition of your hard disk. To access the C partition,
you enter the following line into the Command Prompt tool, then you press the Enter key:
C:
Next, to move to the C#\programs directory, you enter cd followed by C#\programs:
cd C#\programs
To compile Example1_1.cs using csc, you enter the following command:
csc Example1_1.cs
Notice that the name of the program source file follows csc—it’s Example1_1.cs in this case.
Warning If you get an error when running csc, you’ll need to add the directory where you installed the SDK to
your Path environment variable. The Path environment variable specifies a list of directories that contain executable
programs. Whenever you run a program from the Command Prompt tool, the directories in the Path variable are searched
for the program you want to run. Your current directory is also searched. To set your Path environment variable, select
Start ➢ Settings ➢ Control Panel. Then double-click System and select the Advanced tab. Next, click the Environment
Variables button and double-click Path from the system variables area at the bottom. Finally, add the directory where you
installed the SDK to your Path environment variable. Click OK to save your change, and then click OK again on the
next dialog box. Next, restart the Command Prompt tool so that your change is picked up. You should then be able to run
csc successfully.
The compiler takes the Example1_1.cs file and compiles it into an executable file named Example1_1
.exe. The .exe file contains instructions that a computer can run—and the .exe file extension indicates
the file is an executable file.
You run an executable file using the Command Prompt tool by entering the name of that executable
file. For example, to run the Example1_1.exe file, you enter the following line in the Command Prompt
tool and then you press the Enter key:
Example1_1
Note You can omit the .exe extension when running a program. For example, you can use Example1_1 to run
Example1_1.exe.
When you run the program, you should see the following text displayed in your Command Prompt
window:
Hello World!
The current date and time is 8/1/2002 12:22:44 PM
Needless to say, your date and time will differ from that shown in the previous line. This date and
time is read from your computer when you run the program.
Introducing the Microsoft Intermediate Language (MSIL)
When you compile a program, the .exe file produced by the compiler contains instructions written
in Microsoft Intermediate Language (MSIL). MSIL is frequently abbreviated to IL. Now, a computer
8 Chapter 1 INTRODUCTION TO C#
can only run programs written in their own native tongue: machine code. Machine code is a series of
binary numbers (zeros and ones) that a computer can understand and run.
IL instructions are not written in machine code—and therefore an additional step is required to
convert the IL into machine code before your program is run for the first time. This step is performed
automatically by a piece of software known as the Just In Time (JIT) compiler.
When you run your program, the IL instructions in your .exe file are converted by the JIT
compiler into machine code that the computer then runs. This is efficient because the JIT compiler
detects the type of Central Processing Unit (CPU) in the computer and produces machine code
specifically tailored to that CPU. This results in machine code that runs as fast as possible.
Note When you distribute your programs, you can then be sure your program will run as fast as possible, regardless of
the CPU used by the computer on which your program runs.
JIT compilation is only performed the first time your program is run, and the resulting machine
code is automatically stored. When your program runs again, the stored machine code is reused. That
way, the computer doesn’t need to keep re-compiling the IL instructions into machine code. Of course,
when the computer is turned off or rebooted, the JIT will need to recompile your program into IL
instructions when it is run again.
Introducing Visual Studio .NET
Visual Studio .NET (VS .NET) is Microsoft’s Rapid Application Development (RAD) tool. VS .NET
is an integrated development environment that you can use to create many types of .NET programs.
VS .NET is a more productive tool than a simple text editor such as Notepad. This is because VS .NET
allows you to enter your program, compile it, and run it—all within an easy to use graphical Windows
environment.
VS .NET also enables you to step through each line in your program as it runs. This is useful when
your program has errors, or bugs. The process of getting rid of bugs in your program is known as
debugging—and you’ll learn about this in Chapter 13, “Exceptions and Debugging.”You’ll also learn
how to use VS .NET’s debugger in that chapter. You use the debugger to step through each line in your
program.
In the previous section, you saw a program that displayed the words Hello World! along with the
current date and time on your computer’s screen. This type of program is known as a console application
because it displays output directly on the computer’s screen on which the program is running.
You can use VS .NET to create console applications, as well as the following type of applications:
Windows Applications Windows applications are programs that take advantage of the visual
controls offered by the Windows operating system, such as menus, buttons, and editable text
boxes. Windows Explorer, which you use to navigate the file system of your computer, is one
example of a Windows application. You’ll learn about Windows programming in Chapter 24,
“Introduction to Windows Applications.”
ASP.NET Applications ASP.NET applications are programs that run over the Internet. You
access an ASP.NET application using a web browser, such as Internet Explorer. Examples of
ASP.NET applications would be online banking, stock trading, or auction systems. You’ll learn
about ASP.NET programming in Chapter 25, “Active Server Pages: ASP.NET.”
INTRODUCING VISUAL STUDIO .NET 9
ASP.NET Web Services ASP.NET web services are also programs that run over the Internet.
ASP.NET web services are also known as XML web services. The difference is that you can use
them to offer a service that could be used in a distributed system of interconnected services. For
example, Microsoft’s Passport web service offers identification and authentication of web users
you could then use in your own web application. You’ll learn about web services in Chapter 26,
“Web Services.”
The previous list is not an exhaustive list of the types of applications you can develop with VS .NET,
but it does give you flavor for the broad range of VS .NET’s capabilities.
In the rest of this section, you’ll see how to develop and run the “Hello World” program using
VS .NET. If you’ve installed VS .NET on your computer, you’ll be able to follow along with the
example. If you don’t have VS .NET, then don’t worry—you’ll be able to see what’s going on from
the figures provided.
Starting Visual Studio .NET and Creating a Project
All of your work in VS .NET is organized into projects. Projects contain the source and executable
files for your program, among other items. If you have VS .NET installed, go ahead and start it by
selecting Start ➢ Programs ➢ Microsoft Visual Studio .NET ➢ Microsoft Visual Studio .NET.
Once VS .NET has started, you’ll see the Start page (see Figure 1.1).
From the Start page, you can see any existing projects you’ve created. You can open and create
projects using the Open Project and New Project buttons, respectively. You’ll create a new project
shortly.
Figure 1.1
The Start page
10 Chapter 1 INTRODUCTION TO C#
Using the VS .NET Links
As you can see from Figure 1.1, VS .NET contains a number of links on the left of the Start page.
Some of these links provide access to useful information on the Internet about .NET; the links are
as follows:
Get Started Opens the Start page. You can open and create projects from the Start page, and
you saw an example Start page earlier in Figure 1.1.
What’s New Use this link to view any updates for VS .NET or Windows. You can also view
upcoming training events and conferences.
Online Community Get in touch with other members of the .NET community. Includes links
to websites and newsgroups.
Headlines View the latest news on .NET.
Search Online Use this link to search the MSDN Online Library for technical material such as
published articles on .NET.
Downloads Download trial applications and example programs from the websites featured here.
XML Web Services Find registered XML web services that you can then use in your own programs.
XML web services are also known as ASP.NET web services. You’ll learn more about web
services in Chapter 26.
Web Hosting A web hosting company is an organization that can take your program and run it
for you. They take care of the computers on which your program runs. You use the Web Hosting
link to view companies that provide web hosting services to run your programs.
My Profile This link allows you to set items such as your required keyboard scheme and window
layout.
Go ahead and click these links and explore the information provided. As you’ll see, there’s a huge
amount of information about .NET on the Internet.
Creating a New Project
When you’re finished examining the information in the previous links, go ahead and create a new
project by clicking the New Project button on the Get Started page.
Note You can also create a new project by selecting File ➢ New ➢ Project or by pressing Ctrl+Shift+N on your
keyboard.
When you create a new project, VS .NET displays the New Project dialog box that you use to
select the type of project you want to create. You also enter the name and location of your new project;
the location is the directory where you want to store the files for your project.
Because you’re going to be creating a C# console application, select Visual C# Projects from the
Project Types section on the left of the New Project dialog box, and select Console Application from
the Templates section on the right. Enter MyConsoleApplication in the Name field, and keep the
default directory in the Location field. Figure 1.2 shows the completed New Project dialog box with
these settings.
INTRODUCING VISUAL STUDIO .NET 11
Click the OK button to create the new project.
Working in the VS .NET Environment
Once your new project has been created, the main development screen is displayed (see Figure 1.3).
This screen is the environment in which you’ll develop your project. As you can see, VS .NET has
already created some starting code for you; this code is a skeleton for your program—you’ll see how
to modify it shortly. In this section, we’ll give you a brief description of the different parts of the
VS .NET environment.
Figure 1.3
The VS .NET
environment
Figure 1.2
The New Project
dialog box with the
appropriate settings
for a C# console
application
12 Chapter 1 INTRODUCTION TO C#
Note Depending on your settings for VS .NET, your screen may look slightly different from that shown in Figure 1.3.
The VS .NET menu contains the following items:
File From the File menu, you can open, close, and save project files.
Edit From the Edit menu, you can cut, copy, and paste text from the Clipboard. The Clipboard
is a temporary storage area.
View From the View menu, you can hide and show different windows such as the Solution
Explorer (which allows you to see the files that make up your project), Class View (which allows
you to see the classes and objects in your project), Server Explorer (which allows you to explore
items such as databases—you’ll learn about databases and the use of Server Explorer in Part III
of this book), and the Properties window (which allows you to set the properties of objects, such
as the size of a button, for example), among others. You can also use the View menu to select the
toolbars you want to display.
Project From the Project menu, you can add class files to your project and add Windows forms
and controls (you’ll learn about Windows forms and controls in Part III).
Build From the Build menu, you can compile the source files in your project.
Debug From the Debug menu, you can start your program with or without debugging. Debugging
enables you to step through your program line by line looking for errors. You’ll learn about
the debugger in Chapter 13.
Tools From the Tools menu, you can connect to a database and customize your settings for VS
.NET (for example, you can set the colors used for different parts of your program lines or set
the initial page displayed by VS .NET when you start it).
Window From the Window menu, you can like switch between files you’ve opened and hide
windows.
Help From the Help menu, you can open the documentation on .NET. You’ll learn how to use
this documentation later in this chapter in the “Using the .NET Documentation” section.
The VS .NET toolbar contains a series of buttons that act as shortcuts to some of the options
in the menus. For example, you can save a file or all files, cut and paste text from the Clipboard, and
start a program using the debugger. You’ll learn how to use some of these features in this chapter.
The code shown in the window (below the toolbar) with the title Class.1.cs is code that is automatically
generated by VS .NET, and in the next section you’ll modify this code.
Modifying the VS .NET–Generated Code
Once VS .NET has created your project, it will display some starting code for the console application
with a class name of Class1.cs. You can use this code as the beginning for your own program.
Figure 1.3—shown earlier—shows the starting code created by VS .NET.
INTRODUCING VISUAL STUDIO .NET 13
The Main() method created by VS .NET is as follows:
static void Main(string[] args)
{
//
// TODO: Add code to start application here
//
}
As you can see, this code contains comments that indicate where you add your own code. Go ahead
and replace the three lines in the Main() method with the lines shown in the following Main() method:
static void Main(string[] args)
{
// display “Hello World!” on the screen
System.Console.WriteLine(“Hello World!”);
// display the current date and time
System.Console.WriteLine(“The current date and time is “ +
System.DateTime.Now);
}
As you can see, the new lines display the words Hello World! on the screen, along with the current
date and time. Once you’ve replaced the code in the Main() method, the next steps are to compile
and run your program.
Compiling and Running the Program
As always, you must first compile your program before you can run it. Because programs in VS .NET
are organized into projects, you must compile the project—this is also known as building the project.
To build your project, select Build ➢ Build Solution. This compiles the Class1.cs source file into an
executable file.
Tip You can also press Ctrl+Shift+B on your keyboard to build your project.
Finally, you can now run your program. To run your program, select Debug ➢ Start Without
Debugging. When you select Start Without Debugging, the program will pause at the end allowing
you to view the output.
Tip You can also press Ctrl+F5 on your keyboard to run your program.
When you run your program, VS .NET will run the program in a new Command Prompt window,
as shown in Figure 1.4. Your program is run in a Command Prompt window because it is a console
application.
To end the program, go ahead and press any key. This will also close the Command Prompt window.
You’ve barely scratched the surface of VS .NET in this section. You’ll explore some of the other
features of VS .NET later in this book—including how to step through each line in a program using
14 Chapter 1 INTRODUCTION TO C#
the debugger that is integrated with VS .NET. You typically use the debugger to find errors in your
programs, and you’ll see how to use the debugger in Chapter 13.
In the next section, you’ll learn how to use the extensive documentation that comes with .NET.
Using the .NET Documentation
Both the .NET SDK and VS .NET come with extensive documentation, including the full reference
to all the classes in .NET. As you become proficient with C#, you’ll find this reference documentation
invaluable.
In the following sections, you’ll see how to access the .NET documentation, see how to search the
documentation, and view some of the contents of the documentation. Depending on whether you’re
using the .NET SDK or VS .NET, you access the documentation in a slightly different way. You’ll
see how to use both ways to access the documentation in this section.
Note The documentation that comes with the .NET SDK is a subset of the documentation that comes with VS .NET.
Accessing the Documentation Using the .NET SDK
If you’re using the .NET SDK, you access the documentation by selecting Start ➢ Programs ➢
.NET Framework SDK ➢ Overview. Figure 1.5 shows the .NET Framework SDK Documentation
home page—this is the starting page for the documentation.
On the left of the page, you can see the various sections that make up the contents of the documentation.
You can view the index of the documentation by selecting the Index tab at the bottom of
the page.
Tip You can also view the Index window by selecting Help ➢ Index or by pressing Ctrl+Alt+F2 on your keyboard.
You can search the index by entering a word in the Look For field of the Index tab. Figure 1.6
shows the results of searching for Console. Figure 1.6 also shows the overview for the Console class on
the right. We opened this overview by double-clicking the About Console Class link in the Index
window on the left of the screen.
Figure 1.4
The running
program
USING THE .NET DOCUMENTATION 15
You can also search all pages in the documentation using the Search tab. You display the Search
tab by selecting it from the bottom of the screen.
Tip You can also view the Search window by selecting Help ➢ Search or by pressing Ctrl+Alt+F3 on your keyboard.
Figure 1.6
Searching the index
for the word
Console
Figure 1.5
The documentation
home page
16 Chapter 1 INTRODUCTION TO C#
You enter the words you want to search for in the Look For field of the Search window. Figure 1.7
shows the Search tab and the search results returned by a search for WriteLine. When you run the search,
the names of the pages that contain your required words are displayed in the Search Results window
that appears at the bottom of the screen (you can see this window in Figure 1.7).
Tip You can also view the Search Results window by selecting Help ➢ Search results or by pressing Shift+Alt+F3 on
your keyboard.
You view the contents of a particular page shown in the Search Results window by double-clicking
the appropriate line. For example, in Figure 1.7 shown earlier, we double-clicked the second line in the
Search Results window. This line contained the “Console.WriteLine Method” page and as you can
see, this page is displayed in the window above the search results in Figure 1.7.
In the next section, you’ll see how to access the documentation using VS .NET.
Accessing the Documentation Using VS .NET
If you’re using VS .NET, you access the documentation using the Help menu. To access the contents
of the documentation, you select Help ➢ Contents. Figure 1.8 shows the contents displayed in
VS .NET. Notice that the documentation is displayed directly in VS .NET, rather than in a separate
window as is done when viewing documentation with the .NET SDK.
Figure 1.7
Searching all of the
documentation for
the word WriteLine
USING THE .NET DOCUMENTATION 17
Note The same keyboard shortcuts shown in the previous section also apply to VS .NET.
The Help menu also provides access to similar Index and Search windows as you saw in the
previous section.
Summary
In this chapter, you were introduced to the C# language. You saw a simple example program that
displayed the words Hello World! on your computer’s screen, along with the current date and time.
You also learned about the compiler.
You also learned about Microsoft’s Rapid Application Development (RAD) tool, Visual Studio
.NET. Visual Studio .NET allows you to develop, run, and debug programs in an integrated development
environment.
In the final sections of this chapter, you saw how to use the extensive documentation from
Microsoft that comes with the .NET SDK and Visual Studio .NET. As you become an expert C#
programmer, you’ll find this documentation invaluable.
In the next chapter, you’ll learn more about the basics of C# programming.
Figure 1.8
The documentation
contents viewed in
VS .NET
18 Chapter 1 INTRODUCTION TO C#

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