What are the different editors that are available for C# programming?

Once you have installed a C# compiler, the next process is to choose an editor to enter source codes. There are different types of editors such as Notepad and Visual C#. In addition to these two, many third party vendors have also developed editors for programming with C#. This FAQ briefly discusses each one of these editors.

Notepad is a commonly used editor among many programmers. It comes with Windows and it is very easy to use as well. But there are lots of disadvantages with this editor like it doesn’t supports syntax coloring and other features such as intellisense. Moreover, you cannot directly compile and execute a C# program from within the editor. Although it doesn’t support features such as line numbering, you can jump to a specific line of the code by using the CTRL+G shortcut.

Microsoft Visual Studio is a full featured development tool and it includes project templates for all .NET languages in an Integrated Development Environment (IDE). Other than C#, the IDE supports the development of major .NET languages such as Visual Basic , Visual J#  and Visual C++. In other words, it provides a single development environment for all these languages. You need to master the various elements found on the IDE such as Toolbox, Properties window apart from learning the C# language.

Will I get Visual C# as a separate product?

Yes. Microsoft sells a standard version of the product named “Visual C# .NET Standard Edition” at a reduced price. It comes with four CD’s along with a printed manual. This product doesn’t supports advanced features such as Crystal Reports which is available with Visual Studio. This product is a big boon for developers with limited budget.
Visual C# .NET provides you with the required templates and wizards for building applications. It also supports features such as Intellisense and Dynamic Help. Dynamic Help is a new functionality which will provide you help according to the relevant situation while developing a project. It will be available only if you have installed MSDN Library collection. Moreover, it ships with powerful debugging capabilities and automatic syntax/clause completion features. For instance, if you enter the keyword “try”, remaining clauses like catch and finally will be automatically get listed on the code editor.

What do you mean by IntelliSense?

IntelliSense refers to popping up of methods and properties according to the context. For instance, if you enter Console followed by a dot, a menu automatically pops up, which gives you all the methods and properties of the Console class. You should already be aware of this useful feature, if you had used any of the languages in Visual Studio 6.0.

Where will I get MSDN Library?

MSDN Library ships with all editions of Visual Studio. You will be automatically prompted to install the same after the installation of Visual Studio. You will get periodic updates of the library if you have subscribed to MSDN. Alternatively, you can access the library online at any time. The biggest advantage of using Visual C# is that it significantly reduces the development time of projects by integrating all parts of a project under a single roof. Even though there are lots of benefits, Visual C# is not compulsorily required for programming with C#.

In addition to Visual C#, many third party vendors have also released editors for C#. They can be downloaded from the websites of the respective vendors. One of the most popular editors is SharpDevelop. It supports syntax coloring, compilation and execution from the IDE apart from other features. With the help of this editor, you can also build Visual Basic, User controls and Web Services applications. You can also create XML and XSL files. Moreover, the developers of SharpDevelop have provided the complete source code for this editor under an Open Source License Agreement. The product and its source code can be downloaded from www.isharpdevelop.com.

Another editor is Antechinus C# editor developed by c-point but it is not as much popular due to its limited capabilities. Some of the other popular editors are given below

Borland C# Builder

Even though there are many editors available on the market its up to you to decide which editor to use. I strongly recommend you to install one editor and learn the language completely.


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