Saturday, 31 March 2007

Programming in C# - Part 1

So, I've been programming on and off since I was pretty young, starting with the classic

20 GOTO 10

on my dad's old Commodore 64 when I was little. I advanced slowly and rather haphazardly, picking up bits of BASIC, VB, Java, SPLUS, C++, Prolog, MATLAB blah de blah blah. The main problem that I had was that that I only ever programmed at random, and never had any real projects to work on. The closest I ever got to any major programming was on a small number of Maths and Computer Science courses. I decided that it was now time to do some serious programming, and learn the "it" language of the moment - C#.

Starting with a open source C# IDE, I wrote a couple of silly pieces of code - producing lists of prime numbers up to a few million. This was all well and good, but it was all command line and I had a specific project in mind.

My plan is to produce a piece of software which displays special cards, either windowed or full screen, which contain stuff for brainstorming and problem solving. The software would read "packs" of cards in an XML format. The software can be given away for free (open source even) with a basic set of cards, and other packs can potentially be sold. Whether protection is necessary for copying I don't know - probably not, since most users will probably be reasonable.

Anyway, this is moving a bit off the topic of learning C#, but it gives you the premise on which my learning is based. Having searched around google for creating GUIs in C#, I found a set of video tutorials on MSDN. The ones I would like to highlight are the "Absolute Beginners Series" - a set of about 10 hours of videos starting from the very beginning and ending with creating an entire RSS reader app. It is a great guide, and has set me up quite nicely for starting my own app over the coming months. I also would like to suggest getting Visual C# 2005 Express Edition - although it's not open source, it is much more powerful in creating Windows applications, and it is free (as in beer).

So, over the coming months, I will begin posting updates on how my program is progressing - keep reading!

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