Microsoft Readies C-based Language



Windows developers will get their first look at Microsoft's C# (pronounced "C sharp") programming language at the company's Professional Developers Conference in Orlando, Fla., next month, and final code will ship next year when Microsoft releases its next-generation toolset.

Microsoft today officially disclosed C#, a derivative of the C and C++ programming languages that's designed for companies building scalable, multiuser systems. Most commercial software apps are written in the robust C and C++ languages, but their complexity and voluminous code make for long lead times before deployment, Microsoft product manager Tony Goodhew says. What's more, the languages--developed during the past 30 years--don't inherently recognize conventions necessary to build Internet applications, he says.

Enter C#. The language is designed so programmers familiar with the C family of languages can write less code to accomplish tasks and make fewer errors. For example, C# includes "garbage-collection" features, so developers don't have to manually release memory after a program is finished with it. C# saves data to disk in native Extensible Markup Language format. And the language is "loosely coupled," so systems don't have to stand by until a message is received. "It's a scalability issue," Goodhew says of the latter feature.

Microsoft plans to distribute sample C# code at the Professional Developers Conference, which runs July 11-14. It says it will ship final code in its Visual Studio.Net (formerly called Visual Studio version 7) release next year. That product is scheduled to enter beta testing later this year.

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