Grok all the things

grok (v): to understand (something) intuitively.


🙄  Cynics & grumps

Ah, C#! The language that's almost, but not quite, as cool as C++. Microsoft's brainchild that took C, sprinkled in a touch of Java, and shoved it into the .NET straitjacket. Let's dive into this paradoxical world where simplicity and verbosity coexist, shall we?

A Brief History of C#

In 2000, Microsoft graced the world with C# (pronounced "C sharp", not "C hashtag" for you Twitter fanatics). Andres Hejlsberg, the genius behind Turbo Pascal and Delphi, took on the task of creating a new programming language to rival Java. Rumor has it that the name "Cool" was considered, but someone quickly realized the irony of naming a language that blends C++ and Java as "cool". So, they went with a musical reference instead.

C# was built on the premise of safely managing memory—which, admittedly, is something that C++ doesn't always handle gracefully. But surely, all those other languages with garbage collectors couldn't compete with Microsoft's vision for a safe, productive language.

What Makes C# Special?

Well, for one thing, it's tightly integrated with Microsoft's .NET Framework (or .NET Core, or .NET 5+, depending on when you jumped on the bandwagon). That means you can leverage all those libraries when developing your applications. Oh, and it also means you're locked into the Microsoft ecosystem—how fortunate!

C# is designed to be object-oriented (but not too object-oriented) and type-safe (to protect us from ourselves). But let's not forget about the verbose syntax that goes hand-in-hand with features like LINQ and async/await. Who doesn't love typing three times as many characters to achieve something that another language might accomplish in a single line?

var evens = Enumerable.Range(1, 10).Where(x => x % 2 == 0);

C# Is So Versatile

One of the major selling points for C# is its versatility. You can write console applications, web applications with ASP.NET (shudders), and even games with Unity. Sure, you could use other languages to achieve the same thing, but why not stick with the one that forces you to play by Microsoft's rules?

public class HelloWorld
    public static void Main(string[] args)
        Console.WriteLine("Yes, this is how you print 'Hello, World!' in C#");

And if desktop applications are your thing, there's always Windows Forms or WPF for designing those beautiful, pixel-perfect user interfaces. What fun it is to drag and drop components onto a canvas and watch as the auto-generated code takes shape behind the scenes!

The Versions That Keep on Coming

It's hard to keep up with all the new versions of C#. At the time of writing, we're on C# 9.0, with 10.0 looming right around the corner. Microsoft's team tirelessly churns out new features and improvements, fixing things we never realized were broken.

It's reassuring to know that if you miss a few versions, you'll be met with a whirlwind of new features like pattern matching and nullable reference types. Never fear, though—obsolete features like ArrayList or Hashtable can still coexist with their modern counterparts. Rest assured, your legacy code will still compile.

Embrace the Cynicism

So there you have it—a light-hearted romp through the world of C#. Whether you're enamored by its verbose syntax or bound by its ties to the Microsoft ecosystem, there's no denying it has made a significant impact on the programming landscape. So sit back, take a deep breath, and appreciate the quirks of this language that's managed to keep so many of us employed for all these years. Happy coding! is a collection of articles on a variety of technology and programming articles assembled by James Padolsey. Enjoy! And please share! And if you feel like you can donate here so I can create more free content for you.