The C# Programming Language (Microsoft .NET Development Series) / Edition 2

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Overview

C# is a simple, modern, object-oriented, and type-safe programming language that combines the high productivity of rapid application development languages with the raw power of C and C++. Written by the language's architect, Anders Hejlsberg, and design team members, and now updated for C# 2.0, The C# Programming Language, Second Edition, is the definitive technical reference for C#. The book provides the complete specification of the language, along with descriptions, reference materials, and code samples from the C# design team.

The first part of the book opens with an introduction to the language to bring readers quickly up-to-speed on the concepts of C#. Next follows a detailed and complete technical specification of the C# 1.0 language, as delivered in Visual Studio .NET 2002 and 2003. Topics covered include Lexical Structure, Types, Variables, Conversions, Expressions, Statements, Namespaces, Exceptions, Attributes, and Unsafe Code.

The second part of the book describes the many new features of C# 2.0, including Generics, Anonymous Methods, Iterators, Partial Types, and Nullable Types. This second edition describes C# 2.0 as actually released in Visual Studio .NET 2005, with many additions and improvements over the design presented in the first edition. Reference tabs and an exhaustive index allow readers to easily navigate the text and quickly find the topics that interest them most.

The C# Programming Language, Second Edition, is the definitive reference for programmers who want to acquire an in-depth knowledge of C#.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780321334435
  • Publisher: Addison-Wesley
  • Publication date: 6/29/2006
  • Series: Microsoft .NET Development Series
  • Edition description: Revised and Updated Edition for C# 2.0
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 720
  • Product dimensions: 7.48 (w) x 9.56 (h) x 1.58 (d)

Meet the Author

Anders Hejlsberg is a programming legend. He is the architect of the C# language and a Microsoft Technical Fellow. He joined Microsoft Corporation in 1996, following a thirteen-year career at Borland, where he was the chief architect of Delphi and Turbo Pascal.

Scott Wiltamuth is General Manager for the Visual Studio Language and Data Tools team at Microsoft Corporation. In his thirteen years at Microsoft, he has worked on a wide range of development tools, including OLE Automation, Visual Basic for Applications, VBScript, JScript, Visual J++, and Visual C#.

Before leaving Microsoft Corporation, Peter Golde served as the lead developer of Microsoft's C# compiler. As the primary Microsoft representative on the ECMA committee that standardized C#, he led the implementation of the compiler and worked on the language design.

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Read an Excerpt

The C# project started more than seven years ago, in December 1998, with the goal to create a simple, modern, object-oriented, and type-safe programming language for the new and yet to be named .NET platform. Since then, C# has come a long way. The language is now in use by hundreds of thousands of programmers; it has been standardized by both ECMA and ISO/IEC; and the development of a second version of the language with several major new features has been completed.

This book is a complete technical specification of the C# programming language. The book is divided into three parts. Part I, "C# 1.0," includes Chapters 1-18 and describes the C# 1.0 language, as delivered in Visual Studio .NET 2002 and 2003. Part II, "C# 2.0," includes Chapters 19-25 and describes the new features of C# 2.0, as delivered in Visual Studio 2005, including generics, anonymous methods, iterators, partial types, and nullable types. Part III, "Appendixes," describes documentation comments and summarizes the lexical and syntactic grammars of C# 2.0.

Many people have been involved in the creation of the C# language. The language design team for C# 1.0 consisted of Anders Hejlsberg, Scott Wiltamuth, Peter Golde, Peter Sollich, and Eric Gunnerson. For C# 2.0, the language design team consisted of Anders Hejlsberg, Peter Golde, Peter Hallam, Shon -Katzenberger, Todd Proebsting, and Anson Horton. Furthermore, the design and implementation of generics in C# and the .NET Common Language Runtime is based on the "Gyro" prototype built by Don Syme and Andrew Kennedy of Microsoft Research. Finally, this second edition was edited by Mads Torgersen.

It is impossible to acknowledge all the people who have influenced the design of C#, but we are nonetheless grateful to all of them. Nothing good gets designed in a vacuum, and the constant feedback we receive from our large and enthusiastic community of developers is invaluable.

C# has been and continues to be one of the most challenging and exciting projects on which we've worked. We hope you enjoy using C# as much as we enjoyed creating it.

Anders Hejlsberg Scott Wiltamuth Seattle, WA May 2006



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Table of Contents

Preface xiii

PART I: C# 1.0 1

Chapter 1: Introduction 3

1.1 Hello World 4

1.2 Program Structure 5

1.3 Types and Variables 7

1.4 Expressions 11

1.5 Statements 14

1.6 Classes and Objects 18

1.7 Structs 34

1.8 Arrays 35

1.9 Interfaces 37

1.10 Enums 39

1.11 Delegates 40

1.12 Attributes 42

Chapter 2: Lexical Structure 45

2.1 Programs 45

2.2 Grammars 45

2.3 Lexical Analysis 47

2.4 Tokens 51

2.5 Preprocessing Directives 61

Chapter 3: Basic Concepts 73

3.1 Application Startup 73

3.2 Application Termination 74

3.3 Declarations 75

3.4 Members 77

3.5 Member Access 79

3.6 Signatures and Overloading 86

3.7 Scopes 87

3.8 Namespace and Type Names 93

3.9 Automatic Memory Management 95

3.10 Execution Order 99

Chapter 4: Types 101

4.1 Value Types 101

4.2 Reference Types 110

4.3 Boxing and Unboxing 112

Chapter 5: Variables 115

5.1 Variable Categories 115

5.2 Default Values 119

5.3 Definite Assignment 119

5.4 Variable References 133

5.5 Atomicity of Variable References 133

Chapter 6: Conversions 135

6.1 Implicit Conversions 135

6.2 Explicit Conversions 138

6.3 Standard Conversions 142

6.4 User-Defined Conversions 143

Chapter 7: Expressions 147

7.1 Expression Classifications 147

7.2 Operators 149

7.3 Member Lookup 156

7.4 Function Members 157

7.5 Primary Expressions 170

7.6 Unary Operators 193

7.7 Arithmetic Operators 198

7.8 Shift Operators 207

7.9 Relational and Type-Testing Operators 209

7.10 Logical Operators 216

7.11 Conditional Logical Operators 218

7.12 Conditional Operator 220

7.13 Assignment Operators 221

7.14 Expression 226

7.15 Constant Expressions 226

7.16 Boolean Expressions 228

Chapter 8: Statements 229

8.1 End Points and Reachability 230

8.2 Blocks 232

8.3 The Empty Statement 233

8.4 Labeled Statements 233

8.5 Declaration Statements 234

8.6 Expression Statements 236

8.7 Selection Statements 237

8.8 Iteration Statements 243

8.9 Jump Statements 248

8.10 The try Statement 255

8.11 The checked and unchecked Statements 258

8.12 The lock Statement 259

8.13 The using Statement 260

Chapter 9: Namespaces 263

9.1 Compilation Units 263

9.2 Namespace Declarations 264

9.3 Using Directives 265

9.4 Namespace Members 271

9.5 Type Declarations 271

Chapter 10: Classes 273

10.1 Class Declarations 273

10.2 Class Members 277

10.3 Constants 287

10.4 Fields 290

10.5 Methods 299

10.6 Properties 317

10.7 Events 327

10.8 Indexers 333

10.9 Operators 338

10.10 Instance Constructors 343

10.11 Static Constructors 349

10.12 Destructors 352

Chapter 11: Structs 355

11.1 Struct Declarations 355

11.2 Struct Members 356

11.3 Class and Struct Differences 357

11.4 Struct Examples 363

Chapter 12: Arrays 367

12.1 Array Types 367

12.2 Array Creation 369

12.3 Array Element Access 369

12.4 Array Members 369

12.5 Array Covariance 369

12.6 Array Initializers 370

Chapter 13: Interfaces 373

13.1 Interface Declarations 373

13.2 Interface Members 375

13.3 Fully Qualified Interface Member Names 380

13.4 Interface Implementations 380

Chapter 14: Enums 393

14.1 Enum Declarations 393

14.2 Enum Modifiers 394

14.3 Enum Members 394

14.4 The System.Enum Type 397

14.5 Enum Values and Operations 397

Chapter 15: Delegates 399

15.1 Delegate Declarations 399

15.2 Delegate Instantiation 402

15.3 Delegate Invocation 403

Chapter 16: Exceptions 407

16.1 Causes of Exceptions 407

16.2 The System.Exception Class 408

16.3 How Exceptions Are Handled 408

16.4 Common Exception Classes 409

Chapter 17: Attributes 411

17.1 Attribute Classes 411

17.2 Attribute Specification 414

17.3 Attribute Instances 420

17.4 Reserved Attributes 422

17.5 Attributes for Interoperation 428

Chapter 18: Unsafe Code 429

18.1 Unsafe Contexts 429

18.2 Pointer Types 433

18.3 Fixed and Moveable Variables 436

18.4 Pointer Conversions 437

18.5 Pointers in Expressions 438

18.6 The fixed Statement 446

18.7 Stack Allocation 450

18.8 Dynamic Memory Allocation 451

PART II: C# 2.0 455Chapter 19: Introduction to C# 2.0 457

19.1 Generics 458

19.2 Anonymous Methods 463

19.3 Iterators 467

19.4 Partial Types 471

19.5 Nullable Types 472

Chapter 20: Generics 477

20.1 Generic Class Declarations 477

20.2 Generic Struct Declarations 488

20.3 Generic Interface Declarations 488

20.4 Generic Delegate Declarations 490

20.5 Constructed Types 491

20.6 Generic Methods 498

20.7 Constraints 506

20.8 Expressions and Statements 517

20.9 Revised Lookup Rules 521

20.10 Right-Shift Grammar Changes 533

Chapter 21: Anonymous Methods 535

21.1 Anonymous Method Expressions 535

21.2 Anonymous Method Signatures 535

21.3 Anonymous Method Conversions 536

21.4 Anonymous Method Blocks 537

21.5 Outer Variables 538

21.6 Anonymous Method Evaluation 541

21.7 Delegate Instance Equality 542

21.8 Definite Assignment 543

21.9 Method Group Conversions 544

21.10 Delegate Creation Expressions 546

21.11 Implementation Example 546

Chapter 22: Iterators 551

22.1 Iterator Blocks 551

22.2 Enumerator Objects 552

22.3 Enumerable Objects 555

22.4 The yield Statement 556

22.5 Implementation Example 558

Chapter 23: Partial Types 567

23.1 Partial Declarations 567

23.2 Name Binding 571

Chapter 24: Nullable Types 573

24.1 Nullable Types 573

24.2 Conversions 574

24.3 Expressions 580

Chapter 25: Other Features 587

25.1 Property Accessor Accessibility 587

25.2 Static Classes 590

25.3 Namespace Alias Qualifiers 592

25.4 Extern Aliases 596

25.5 Pragma Directives 600

25.6 Default Value Expression 601

25.7 Conditional Attribute Classes 602

25.8 Fixed Size Buffers 603

PART III: Appendixes 609Appendix A Documentation Comments 611

A.1 Introduction 611

A.2 Recommended Tags 613

A.3 Processing the Documentation File 623

A.4 An Example 629

Appendix B Grammar 635

B.1 Lexical Grammar 635

B.2 Syntactic Grammar 644

B.3 Grammar Extensions for Unsafe Code 671

Index 675

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Preface

The C# project started more than seven years ago, in December 1998, with the goal to create a simple, modern, object-oriented, and type-safe programming language for the new and yet to be named .NET platform. Since then, C# has come a long way. The language is now in use by hundreds of thousands of programmers; it has been standardized by both ECMA and ISO/IEC; and the development of a second version of the language with several major new features has been completed.

This book is a complete technical specification of the C# programming language. The book is divided into three parts. Part I, "C# 1.0," includes Chapters 1-18 and describes the C# 1.0 language, as delivered in Visual Studio .NET 2002 and 2003. Part II, "C# 2.0," includes Chapters 19-25 and describes the new features of C# 2.0, as delivered in Visual Studio 2005, including generics, anonymous methods, iterators, partial types, and nullable types. Part III, "Appendixes," describes documentation comments and summarizes the lexical and syntactic grammars of C# 2.0.

Many people have been involved in the creation of the C# language. The language design team for C# 1.0 consisted of Anders Hejlsberg, Scott Wiltamuth, Peter Golde, Peter Sollich, and Eric Gunnerson. For C# 2.0, the language design team consisted of Anders Hejlsberg, Peter Golde, Peter Hallam, Shon -Katzenberger, Todd Proebsting, and Anson Horton. Furthermore, the design and implementation of generics in C# and the .NET Common Language Runtime is based on the "Gyro" prototype built by Don Syme and Andrew Kennedy of Microsoft Research. Finally, this second edition was edited by Mads Torgersen.

It is impossible to acknowledge all the people who have influenced the design of C#, but we are nonetheless grateful to all of them. Nothing good gets designed in a vacuum, and the constant feedback we receive from our large and enthusiastic community of developers is invaluable.

C# has been and continues to be one of the most challenging and exciting projects on which we've worked. We hope you enjoy using C# as much as we enjoyed creating it.

Anders Hejlsberg Scott Wiltamuth Seattle, WA May 2006

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Introduction

The C# project started almost five years ago, in December 1998, with the goal to create a simple, modern, object-oriented, and type-safe programming language for the new and yet to be named .NET platform. Since then, C# has come a long way. The language is now in use by hundreds of thousands of programmers, it has been standardized by both ECMA and ISO/IEC, and the development of a second version of the language with several major new features is close to completion.

This book is a complete technical specification of the C# programming language. The book is divided into three parts. Part I, "C# 1.0," includes Chapters 1-18 and describes the C# 1.0 language, as delivered in Visual Studio .NET 2002 and 2003. Part II, "C# 2.0," includes Chapters 19-23 and describes the four major new features of C# 2.0: generics, anonymous methods, iterators, and partial types. Part III, "Appendixes," describes documentation comments and summarizes the lexical and syntactic grammars found in Part I of the book. As of this writing, C# 2.0 is close to entering beta testing. Because C# 2.0 is still a work in progress, some of the new features described in the second part of the book might change in the final release. We do, however, expect any such changes to be minor.

Many people have been involved in the creation of the C# language. The language design team for C# 1.0 consisted of Anders Hejlsberg, Scott Wiltamuth, Peter Golde, Peter Sollich, and Eric Gunnerson. For C# 2.0, the language design team consisted of Anders Hejlsberg, Peter Golde, Peter Hallam, Shon Katzenberger, Todd Proebsting, and Anson Horton. Furthermore, the design and implementationof generics in C# and the .NET Common Language Runtime is based on the "Gyro" prototype built by Don Syme and Andrew Kennedy of Microsoft Research.

It is impossible to acknowledge all the people who have influenced the design of C#, but we are nonetheless grateful to all of them. Nothing good gets designed in a vacuum, and the constant feedback we receive from our large and enthusiastic user base is invaluable.

C# has been and continues to be one of the most challenging and exciting projects on which we've worked. We hope you enjoy using C# as much as we enjoyed creating it.

Anders Hejlsberg
Scott Wiltamuth
Peter Golde

Seattle, August 2003

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Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 24, 2007

    The Definitive Reference

    The lineage is certainly there, but the ponderous accuracy of Niklaus Wirth is definitely not enlivened with the frenetic sparkle of Philippe Kahn. The authors are closer to Kahn and not academics like Wirth, but this is heavy reading. As it no doubt should be, it is the detailed description of a computer language based on a rich, experienced and proven provenance, from PL/0 to Pascal through Delphi and, arguably, beyond Java. It is a language used to describe the construction of the components, controls and objects and such that together constitute a large portion of Microsoft¿s .NET product suite, but not a description or outline of those things themselves. Most of the book (roughly the first 80%) is about C# Version 1.0, with the remainder extensions that Version 2.0, followed by even more exact appendices and, finally, a reasonably useful index. Each of the 23 chapters are broad containers for related topics, and most can be read and studied by themselves without reference to prior sections. Like most, perhaps all, computer languages, the material and its presentation has more in common with a mathematics textbook than with technical literature, but it does have a large number of simple examples that illuminate various aspects or nuances of the complex interactions and dependencies that languages have. Again, it is a reference book, and as such anyone who develops programs in C# should have it in their library.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 14, 2006

    use Generics

    [This is a review of the SECOND EDITION, which was published in 2006. Many of the other, earlier reviews are about the First Edition.] There are many computer programming books, but only a handful of languages in widespread use. One way to choose which books to read is to look for the intersection between these 2 ideas. Namely, books written [or co-authored] by the authors of a language. Think Kernighan and Ritchie for C, Jensen and Wirth for Pascal. Well, for C#, we have this book, co-authored by C#'s architect, Hejlsberg. The book itself is probably not best for a complete newcomer to C#, who has no background in other languages. There are no easy to learn tutorial-type lessons. The authors plunge straight into the language. It might be good if you already know the basics of C#. Then this book can be used as an [the?] authoritative reference when you have questions, or if there are ambiguities in other texts. The book does show that C# is inherently easy to use. Its syntax is on a par with Java. Generally, clearer than C++, from which many readers might hail. In various newsgroups and blogs, there are ongoing arguments about the relative merits of C# and Java. Yet this book might show to many readers that the 2 languages are broadly equivalent in ease of use and functionality. (Leaving aside issues of what platforms you can run a language on.) One thing that will strike some readers is that no graphics are covered. The core C# classes described in the book are inherently those for pure computation. In this sense, the style of the book harks back to traditional texts on C and C++. Experienced programmers won't have a problem with this. But one can readily imagine new programmers, who have always used widgets, experiencing an impedance mismatch. C# does of course have graphics, using its Graphics class and System.Drawing, but the authors have chosen to exclude those from the current discussion. Also, what distinguishes this book from its first edition is the coverage of C# 2.0. Seven chapters are devoted to 2.0. I'm not going to tediously enumerate all the differences from 1.0. But perhaps the biggest improvement in 2.0 is the use of Generics. (By the way, this follows in the footsteps of Java 1.5, whose Generics have roughly the same functionality.) Whenever possible, you should use Generics. They let you parameterise the arguments of class methods and interfaces. So that some automated code checking can be moved from run time to compile time. Worth its weight in gold. Run time bug detection is expensive, especially if it's in code that is already at a customer site. Compile time checking occurs much earlier, and is essentially free by comparison.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 27, 2004

    A great reference...

    This book is a great reference for the C# programming language as it will be in it's second incarnation (as of this time, the next version of C# has not been released). However, it is a copy of the C# lanaguage specification that can be found online at Microsoft's website, as well as is distributed with the .NET framework. However, as far as the specification is concerned, it is very good for those that want the final word on all things concerning C#. There is no guesswork here. Specifically, I would recommend this book for those that prefer to have a hard copy of the specification by their side, as well as those that want to get a better grip on aspects of the language and syntax.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 22, 2003

    May yet be a Classic

    C# has now been publicly released by Microsoft for well over a year. In fact, it is maturing into a major upgrade, to version 2. Not surprisingly, there have been several books out on version 1. This book describes version 1 and some aspects of version 2 though these are not strictly official yet. So is that the main point of this book; to give up a heads-up on V2? Because otherwise, do we really need another book on V1? What is the point? Well, perhaps the point is that one of the authors is Hejlsberg, the architect of C#. At Borland, he was the chief architect of Delphi and Turbo Pascal. A towering figure. The blurb on the book's back cover calls him a 'programming legend'. I do not think this is hype. This book has promise of being a landmark. One of those that is forever definitively associated with a computer language. Like 'Pascal - User Manual and Report' by Jensen and Wirth, and 'The C Programming Language' by Kernighan and Ritchie. The main question about this book is the timing of its publication. It is late. Its chances of being considered in the august ranks of the above classics would have been much enhanced if it could have been published coincident with the release of C#. Sure, it would not then mention the V2 features. But that could have been put in the second version of this book. By being late, it let other explanatory texts grab that initial mindshare. Someone, NOT necessarily Hejlsberg, fumbled the ball on this one. Not too late though. The book starts a lap behind. But it may yet achieve classic status. By the way, those of you interested in the history of programming may appreciate this. Hejlsberg is the architect of C#. He is not the (only) author of C#. A team of authors at Microsoft worked on it, simply because these days a new language needs much more effort. Jensen and Wirth were the sole authors of the initial Pascal. Likewise for Kernighan and Ritchie. The simplest reason for the increased complexity is of course the GUI, which was nonexistent then. But another is that C# (and Java) use an automatic garbage collector. In C and Pascal, the programmer must explicitly dellocate, which means that the latter is a simple deterministic method. The complexity is in your wetware. Moving to an automatic GC vastly increases the language's internal complexity.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 10, 2003

    C# Language Specification (v2.0) in print

    This is a good book, but it is not a language tutorial and is not appropriate for beginners. It is mainly a hardcopy version of the C# Language Specification. It has extensive coverage of the entire language, including the new C# 2.0 features (generics, iterators, etc.). Every C# programmer should have a copy of the language specification by their side. If you like hardcopy then buy this book. If you prefer electronic documentation you can read the specification from within Visual Studio.NET or download a copy for no cost from Microsoft.

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