First of all, you need to install a C# compiler. You can either use a command line compiler available from Microsoft or third party compiler kit developed by Mono. Microsoft’s C# compiler is widely used by many developers as the Mono compiler kit is not yet fully developed. In addition to this you can also build C# applications with Visual C# 2008, which is available with Visual Studio 2008. It is a robust development tool used for developing all kinds of C# applications.
Is it necessary to install Visual Studio 2008 to build C# applications?
Not necessary. A command line compiler is sufficient to learn C#. Visual C# is only used to simplify the development process. Microsoft’s C# compiler is available in the form of a package called Software Development Kit (SDK). A latest version of this kit can be downloaded from http://www.microsoft.com/downloads. You will also find this kit along with many programming magazine CD’s or from popular C# books such as Sams Teach Yourself the C# language in 21 Days by Brad Jones.
After the kit has been downloaded, you have to install it. The installation process normally takes between 15-30 minutes depending upon the speed of your computer and is self explanatory. The setup will automatically register the required environment variables and hence you can straight away start programming with C# after the completion of its installation.
Is it necessary to install .NET SDK and Visual Studio 2008 separately?
If you have installed Visual Studio 2008 on your system, then there is no need to install .NET SDK separately as it will be automatically installed as a prerequisite during the installation of Visual Studio. To test whether .NET Framework has been successfully installed on your system, go to Visual Studio 2008 Command Prompt and enter csc. If the system returns a fatal error message with the code CS2008 then the installation is perfect. All C# error messages are documented with codes. These messages will become familiar to you as you gain more experience with C#.
In addition to Microsoft’s C# compiler you also have an option to install Mono C# compiler kit available from http://www.mono-project.com/Main_Page. Mono is a project started to create .NET compilers meant for platforms other than Windows, such as Linux. But the project is still under development and with each release of the kit more features and additional support for namespaces are added. The upcoming version of this kit promises to provide support for Windows Forms, ASP.NET and ADO.NET. Moreover, the new compiler will also provide database connectivity support for MySQL databases.
Can I install Mono C# compiler kit under Windows?
Yes. While Microsoft’s .NET SDK has been designed to work with Windows, Mono C# kit can be installed in both Windows and Linux.