These days, there’s as many programming languages to choose from as there are actual languages. Each one comes with its own set of strengths, weaknesses, and tools. They all serve a valuable purpose, so picking the right one for the job is important.
One of the most popular programming languages right now, especially on Windows platforms, is C#. As a powerful object-oriented language (we’ll explain that more later), it’s also a versatile language. Not only that, but it’s fairly simple to learn.
Having some skill in C sharp coding is a valuable tool and will make you more marketable in today’s increasingly tech-savvy world. Let’s take a look at some of the core concepts behind the language.
What is C#?
So, what is C#? It’s a programming language, obviously, but it’s a specific kind of language. C# is in a category of language called an object-oriented programming language. What does that mean?
An object-oriented programming language relies on something called classes and objects. It’s a modular type of programming designed to cut down on redundancy and code reuse.
Think of classes as a type of blueprint. It’s a generic block of code that you write in your program.
A good example of that would be something like sandwiches. You would write a class called ‘sandwich’ that defines all of the different parameters of a sandwich; toppings, bread, cheese, things like that. Anything you create that uses the sandwich class will have these parameters.
From there, you’d then create your objects – these would be specific kinds of sandwiches. For example, you could create objects of a club sandwich. Each object would fill in those parameters in a certain way. From then on, any time you needed to use that object, you would simply add it to your code.
The object you’ve defined will automatically fill in the parameters for that specific object, using the rules you defined in the class.
There’s a lot of benefits to this kind of structure. On a large scale, it simplifies the process, making code easier to read, write, and maintain. It also cuts down significantly on code reuse.
Since objects within a class will use the same sets of parameters as each other, you don’t need to keep constantly redefining them.
Inheritance: A Key Concept in C#
To further understand C# and other object-oriented programming languages, we need to look at a fundamental concept: inheritance. Inheritance is the concept that allows classes and objects to use, or inherit, the parameters of another class.
This ties back into the concept of classes and objects that we were talking about before. Through this system, we can define certain aspects within a class. Any other class or object can then call that first class and have access to all of these defined features.
When we want to use inheritance, we have to use a few key systems to make it work. We have our main class, called the superclass. This is the class from which other classes will inherit information.
When we make this class, we make it just like any other class. We create the class in our code and define information and parameters within it. This part is pretty simple and works just like any other code we define.
After that, we have something called the subclass. This is any other class that is deriving, or inheriting, information from the superclass. When we want to make our class a subclass of something else, we have to indicate that in our code – we do this by adding a colon into our code.
So, for example, we might make a class. For our example, we’ll continue our previous analogy and call this class ‘subs’. It’s our class that represents any sub sandwiches, and it contains information specific to that kind of sandwich, but we want to use information from our larger superclass of sandwiches.
To do this, we would simply create our class, ‘subs’. Then, in the same line of code, we would add a colon. After the colon, we write the name of the superclass we’re inheriting from – in this case, that would be the class ‘sandwiches’.
From here, we can create new objects of our class ‘subs’, all of which will inherit the information from the superclass of ‘sandwiches’. This saves us a lot of time and code, because we don’t have to redefine what a sandwich is each time we need to create a new instance of it.
Being a subclass and a superclass isn’t mutually exclusive, either. You can use a subclass as a superclass for something else.
So, for example, we could create a third class called ‘veggie subs’. We can then make this class a subclass of ‘subs’, which is in turn a subclass of ‘sandwiches’. This results in the ‘veggie subs’ class inheriting all of the information for both classes.
This is the core concept, not just in C#, but in all object-oriented programming languages. Inheritance is what makes our concept of classes and objects work. By allowing us to share information between otherwise separate classes, it significantly cuts down on the size of our code – and by doing that, it saves us valuable work time.
What is C# Used For?
This might seem like a strange question, after all, C# is a programming language. It’s used to program, right? But ask any programmer and they’ll tell you that not all languages are created equally. They all serve different purposes and fill different niches.
Where does C# fit in? What role does it fill in the landscape?
C# is something of a jack of all trades in a lot of ways. Object oriented programming languages tend to be versatile and can be used to do most things you might need.
Of course, there are several places where another language may be a better fit. If you’re doing heavy data processing, you’re probably better off using a language like R. But this versatility is still a strength of C#.
But C# still fills a role of its own. Because it was developed by Microsoft, C# is an excellent choice for developing Windows applications. In fact, the native development environment for C#, Visual Studio, is made by Microsoft.
It also has a lot of use in web development. Its object-oriented nature makes it a natural fit for web development, which uses a lot of different instances of recurring objects. ASP.NET, another development environment designed for server-side web development, is also maintained by Microsoft.
C# also has a strong foothold in game development as well. Though that industry is still dominated by C++, C# is growing in popularity. This is because of its ease of use, its first-party support on Microsoft platforms, and its extensive documentation.
C# is the default language used by the Unity game development engine, one of the most popular tools for game design in the world.
Other Uses for C#
C# has a lot of uses outside of professional development. One of its most useful features is its compatibility with Windows software like Excel. It’s possible to write all kinds of C# excel programs and macros to extend Excel’s functionality.
With some simple libraries of code, such as the IronXL library above, you gain access to all kinds of code options designed to work directly with Excel. This allows you to easily write scripts and macros that work with the program, providing you with all kinds of additional functions.
Excel itself already comes with native support for running external scripts in the program. With these scripts, you can change the way cells behave, add buttons and other interactive elements, and so much more.
Using these libraries is the best way to integrate C# into your Excel work. Libraries are collections of additional code that provide access to different features of your computer and programs.
Libraries are one of the greatest tools in a developer’s arsenal. They come with predeveloped keywords, code, and other tools. This saves you the time and effort of having to code that functionality yourself.
These libraries also tend to have communities built around them. This means plenty of other people with experience using them, who can help answer questions you may have about the functionality.
Even if you’re not a software developer, these libraries make C# a useful skill in all kinds of fields. If you use Excel for anything, from accounting to data entry, knowing how to integrate C# macros can make your job a lot easier. And it never looks bad on a resume, either.
Why C Sharp Coding is so Popular
There’s a lot of reasons for the enduring, ever-growing popularity of C#.
One of the biggest reasons for this is its relative ease of use. C# is a high-level language.
What this means is that the code your write doesn’t have to deal with the computer directly. In a low-level language, you have to deal with a lot of complexity. Sometimes this can mean something as deep as having to manage individual bits of data.
There’s a lot of math in something that complex – it can be daunting. High level languages take care of a lot of that deep work for you, allowing you to focus on the program itself. This also means a simpler syntax, which makes it easier to learn, read, and understand.
This ease of use is one of the biggest reasons for C#’s popularity. And the language has hit the critical mass where its popularity is self-sustaining.
It’s estimated that nearly 30% of computer programmers use C# regularly in their work. This has created a huge community, including the third largest community on the popular programming board Stack Overflow.
For you, this huge community means plenty of resources to help you learn and work. There’s extensive documentation and resources on C# to help you learn the language. And once you start learning it, there’s an enormous amount of libraries and extensions to help you with your coding.
A large community is a boon for any programming language.
C# is a great choice for a lot of applications. The previously mentioned first-party Microsoft support makes it a great choice for development on their platforms. It can easily make access of all the features of Microsoft’s hardware and software. Non-native languages like that may require additional code or libraries to achieve the same level of functionality.
C# is also a hugely marketable programming language. Because it has a wide array of uses in several types of development, there’s always room for professional, experienced programmers. Just in the USA, there is an average of over 5000 jobs each month for C# programmers.
C# is a Great Tool for Programmers and Non-Programmers Alike
Regardless of your level of computer expertise, learning C sharp coding is a valuable tool. Having skill with the language makes you an attractive candidate for all kinds of jobs.
Its popularity means there’s a huge community of users and resources. This, coupled with its relatively simple syntax, makes it easy to get started learning how to code in C#. And its versatility and native Microsoft support means you can use it to make just about any program you need.
If you have any interest in learning C#, or if you think it’ll help you professionally, go ahead and take the plunge. And if you’re looking for anything else to help you in your personal or business life, be sure to check out the rest of our site. We’ve got plenty of articles to help you out in anything you might need.