A Word About Programming Languages

One of the hallmarks of the .NET Framework is that it is language-agnostic. For the first time in history, it matters little what language you choose to write code in because in the end all languages exercise the same set of features in the .NET Framework.

I do all my coding in C#, in part because C# is the only language designed specifically with the .NET Framework in mind, and also, because I鈥檓 an old C++ guy, C# feels natural to me. Since I鈥檓 a C# programmer, the vast majority of the code samples in this book are written in C#, too. Few of the concepts presented in the book, however, relate only to C#. This book is about programming the .NET Framework, and C# happens to be the vehicle that I use to express my thoughts. If you prefer Visual Basic .NET or COBOL instead, it is my hope that this book will be no less valuable to you. Once you know how to open a connection to a database with ADO.NET, the code for actually doing it is remarkably similar whether it鈥檚 written in Visual Basic .NET or C#.

Most of the samples in this book were written by hand, without the help of Visual Studio .NET. That鈥檚 not a knock on Visual Studio .NET; it鈥檚 evidence of my belief that learning is best accomplished by coding and not by having someone else code for you. Once you understand what goes into a Windows form or a Web form or a Web service, you鈥檒l find Visual Studio .NET an able partner in helping to create them. Writing applications the old-fashioned way first will increase your depth of understanding and better prepare you to work in an environment in which tools shoulder part of the load for you.