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on September 2, 2002
Its nice to have a sub-100$ entry point to this language. The package is limited in the number of projects you can start with (such as Windows Services), but there is plenty of starter code on the web to get around that. Very nice package for the money.
11 helpful votes
12 helpful votes
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on March 19, 2002
Three stars is a bit harsh, but there are some significant caveates to what is otherwise for me a very favorable impression of the product. Some might say I have an axe to bear - I've been using products from the MS for a long time, and there continue to be a number of pet peeves that I have with them.
First Peeve - I had to spend many hours researching the differences in the different "Editions" of the product. This is getting silly. Perhaps have two Editions, "Professional" and "Learning" would be acceptable. The current motley collection of products ranges from the fully equipted "Enterprise Architect" to the quasi "crippleware" "Standard" editions is and is tribute to the dominance of the marketing department at Microsoft (not meant as a compliment).
Peeve 2. In contrast to "intellisence", which is a god-send, the on-line files (installed help files) are a horrendous mis-mash, poorly organzed with respect to product specificity (a search on many topics will bring up dozens, hundreds of results), very weak on introductory content (which is hard to understand in a completely new language product), etc. Clearly Microsoft would rather have you feed the folks at Microsoft Press by buying alot of their hard-copy. Oh lord, please bring back big thick Manuals that come in the box!
Peeve 3 - there are important parts of the Windows API that do not appear to be encapsulated in the .NET framework, specifically the multi-media APIs. {if I am wrong here, I trust a later reviewer will correct me}. These kinds of facilities would require calls directly to the API with unsafe code.
Peeve 4 - Rediculously complicated End User Liscence (sic) Agreement that makes you wonder if you need to consult a lawyer before using the product. Remember the Borland "no nonsense liscence agrement"?
Peeve 5 - This specific "edition" does not include good support for SQL Server. The "Sever Explorer" will not show SQL server information or allow you to connect to SQL Severs. As far as I can tell, the support from the rest of the IDE and the various data components also seems to have been crippled with respect to SQL data sources. MSDE is included with the product, but no Developer Version of SQL server. MSDE doesn't really seem to be of much use, for that matter, since many IDE tools don't appear to recognize it. (They DO recognize Access .mdb databases). I suppose it isn't all that important since you'd have to sell your house and all your children to afford the "enterprise" edition of SQL server any, and then rob the Federal Reserve to afford user liscences!
Peeve 6 - Distributable applications require the deployment of a very large runtime module (CLR). This appears to be 20 MB in size. {Please correct me if I am wrong, fellow reviewers). Forget .NET if you want to deploy or distribute your application over "thinband" internet (ie, shareware, freeware, etc). I know that many have complained to MS for years about requiring runtimes with VB. I have heard MS's partially reasonable explanation for not equiping Windows XP with a CLR out of the box, but people should be aware of this onerous constraint.
Not really a PEEVE, because MS is completely upfront about this, but people should also be aware that the product does not have IDE project support for the other .NET languages (Managed C++ and .NET VB). There is no longer a generic Windows app project either (good ol' Windows API program), which is a little dissapointing (I think). The "New Project" dialog is in general pretty paltry looking compared with the "Professional"+ Editions of the product.
OK - on to the good side.
.NET Framework and C# language are a quantum leap forward from C++ and MFC. A great deal has been done to reduce the complexity level and allow for practical, RAD development without sacrificing on performance and flexibility with this system. Also a big improvement on Visual Basic 6.0 in providing enourmously more power and control. This is very nearly the perfect "middle way". Their is just no way to understate this.
The IDE (at least until 'the dew is off the grass'), is esthetically and functionally superb. Its a jammed packed with features and useful tools, yet well organized, a ultra sexy "cockpit" that will send most developers into a frenzy. Truely modern, state of the art stuff.
It is FUN to program again with this system! Just take care to spend the time deciding whether the "Standard" edition meets your needs. If you are into the other .NET languages or SQL server, this is NOT the way to go, but otherwise, it is a good choice.
75 helpful votes
76 helpful votes
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on January 22, 2003
As others have said, you can't beat the price, and you'll actually own a legal copy of a Visual Studio product. Perfect if you want to write your own little program and sell it on the side :) If you're not familiar with C#, then you'll definitely need a book to get you started -- I recommend Programming Windows in C# by Charles Petzold and Inside C# by Tom Archer. It's a very fun language to program in -- has many of the same concepts as Java. You can also interoperate with the Win32 API and COM.
The editor itself is awesome -- it automatically indents the curly braces and lets you set up colors and all that, like Visual C++ 6.0. It has something new called outlining -- which means you can collapse and expand whole sections of code by clicking on the little pluses. You can also enter XML comments, which means it can automatically generate XML-formatted documentation.
The one thing that's a drag is that you can only create certain types of applications in the IDE: Windows apps, command-line apps, ASP.NET Web applications, and web services. This means you can't create a Forms control or a DLL in the environment. (But you can do it on the command line, if you take the time to read the documentation.)
15 helpful votes
16 helpful votes
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on February 9, 2003
I love the .NET framework and the C# language. However, one thing that just flat out [made me angry] when I got this in the mail was the fact that you could not connect to any database othre then MS Access and SQL Desktop Addition through the Database connection wizard. I can not think of any reason whatsoever that Microsoft would have done something like this, but it made me extreamly aggravated. I use the Enterprise version at work, and purchased the Standard Edition for my home seeing that I only really use the C# language any more and did not need all of the extras that came with higher priced versions. I imagine that there are several other people out there just like me who would want to do the same, and I just think that it was a bad mistake on Microsoft's part. You can still make connections using handwritten code, but at the same time, is that not going against the point of buying a piece of software such as this; to cut out as much handwritten coding as possible?
14 helpful votes
15 helpful votes
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on May 12, 2002
I was somewhat disappointed to find that there doesn't seem to be any way to build Web applications with this product running under XP Home Edition. Building ASP.NET apps seems to require IIS, an XP Professional-only feature (I believe; I'm not a guru by any means). Still, there is much to like, foremost being the power of C with the simplicity of VB. Professional programmers would probably find more to about which to gripe (as usual), but for those of us who program mainly to help solve on-the-job problems, this package packs a lot of power for [the money]!
6 helpful votes
7 helpful votes
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on January 31, 2002
If you are Java, VB programmer and want to learn C#, this is the best bet.

C# is going to change the way we write programs. Java is too slow VB not 100% perfect for you, dont worry buy this. This has the power of C++ and simplicity of VB.
If you are a begginer and want a book to accompany buy Beggining c# by WROX. You are exp. programmer buy proffesional c# by WROX. It is a steal for ...
1 helpful vote
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on May 9, 2002
If you are an experienced programmer - move over Java and C++, C# is a great new tool you'll absolutely want to know. If you're a beginner - C# is a superb product. And the newspapers back me up, I believe they said it's doubled in sales in the last 3 months. A very solid language with a great programming environment - Visual Studio .NET, that makes it easier to learn. C# isn't hard to learn, but you really need to learn the .NET Framework to do real programming in it. The .NET Framework has all kinds of add-on capabilities, sort of like having pre-programmed pieces that you add on to C#. It comes with the .NET Framework, but is really a separate, and essential, piece to learn.
7 helpful votes
8 helpful votes
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on August 5, 2002
I took a look and I couldnt believe the combination of J++ and
C++! It does what it promises. The code is clean and powerful.
I will need some more time with C# to get a better opinion, but
so far I am impressed.
1 helpful vote
2 helpful votes
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on September 27, 2002
I tried to install the program in two different machines, one with windows 2000 pro and the other with Windows XP Pro. When I run the application I got the error message the application cannot run. I then click on help but the windows does not allow me to see the message behind, being impossible to move it. I am disappointed.
4 helpful votes
5 helpful votes
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on November 6, 2002
The ide, the compiler and the whole package itself is great. The shame is that what microsoft calls c# is only java... Too lame... By the way it's as good as java, so it has all its pro and its bad sides
3 helpful votes
4 helpful votes
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