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Before you start with the lessons and examples on this website you need to know a few things about .NET and the various versions of the Framework.

The .NET examples used on this website are targeted for the .NET Framework version 3.5 and Visual Studio Express 2008.  That said, they may also work with .NET version 2.0 and Visual Studio Express 2005.  The examples may also work with the full license Visual Studio .NET IDE tool.  The fully licensed Visual Studio .NET however may look slightly different than the Express version in some of the screenshots used.  This is because full VS.NET has additional features not available in the Express versions.  Also please note that the Express versions are separated into Visual C# and Visual Web Developer.  Visual C# is for writing Windows desktop applications, command line applications and class libraries.  Visual Web Developer is for writing ASP.NET web applications and web services.

Before you begin looking for books and online materials I will tell you a little bit about my experience with learning C# and what I recommend for newbies.  First, there really is no one book, CD, or website that will teach you everything you need to know about C#.  Some materials are geared towards helping you pass a certification exam, whereas other materials may advertise to teach you C# in 21 days or 24 hours.  Each has its purpose and you will need to read chapters from various books and online websites to learn C# practically and be able to really use it.  You will also have to build on the examples that you find with some advice from senior level C# programmers like myself.  Let’s face it, “Hello World” just isn’t enough; you have to go beyond that and build on your learning incrementally.  That is what we will do here together.  By combining the material on this website, external material from free online resources, books that you like and advice from programmers you know, you will be getting the complete set of tools to teach you practical C#.

Second, there are pros and cons to the different styles of teaching C#.  Some instructors start you off with hands-on exercises right away without any introduction to the C# .NET Framework.  Others use hands-on interaction later in the book or course, after many of the concepts have been reviewed in a classroom setting or book chapter.  I tend to prefer a hands-on approach with a little bit of introduction first.  I want the example exercises and lessons to be practical for you and not some code that you would throw away.  I want you to be able to implement a real C# application and apply what you learn here.

Finally, here is some motivational advice: don’t get frustrated along the way.  You will be presented with technical challenges and in some instances you may hit a brick wall.  I have seen students break through the brick wall, and others give up completely.  Please don’t be the one that gives up, you really can do it if you have the desire to learn.  C# is a very logical and succint programming language that can be really fun if you approach it from the right mindset.  If you do feel at some point like you are just lost or cannot proceed, take a break, do some more reading or re-reading and then go back to your assignment later when you are fresh.  Sometimes just being fatigued can challenge your brain enough to affect your learning.  Also, don’t get too worried if you don’t understand every last detail about .NET or C#, I certainly don’t and I have been paid to do it professionally as a senior developer for years.  This is especially relevant when you visit the MSDN website.  Microsoft put a lot on there and you need to practice finding what you need and ignoring all the fluff that may not apply to your situation; this comes with practice.  I tend to search MSDN using Google because the MSDN search sucks.


  1. the introduction is superb. will try to follow your guidelines.


    Comment by Srini — January 24, 2009 @ 11:21 pm

  2. Great Intro! Simple and to the point.

    Comment by Art — February 3, 2009 @ 2:11 am

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