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Foundations of Programming: Fundamentals
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.NET languages: C# and Visual Basic .NET


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Foundations of Programming: Fundamentals

with Simon Allardice

Video: .NET languages: C# and Visual Basic .NET

Next, I am going to talk about two languages at once. C# and Visual Basic.NET. These are the two flagship languages if you're developing on the Microsoft platform. I talk about them at the same time because although they do look different, what you do with them and how you approach them is almost identical. Now, these two languages were released in 2003 by Microsoft. Although Visual Basic had a longer history than that, it was really reinvented at that time, and this was when Microsoft released something called the .NET framework.
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  1. 4m 14s
    1. Welcome
      1m 16s
    2. Making the most of this course
      2m 8s
    3. Using the exercise files
      50s
  2. 22m 11s
    1. What is programming?
      5m 45s
    2. What is a programming language?
      4m 48s
    3. Writing source code
      5m 34s
    4. Compiled and interpreted languages
      6m 4s
  3. 16m 29s
    1. Why JavaScript?
      4m 45s
    2. Creating your first program in JavaScript
      6m 54s
    3. Requesting input
      4m 50s
  4. 31m 38s
    1. Introduction to variables and data types
      5m 16s
    2. Understanding strong, weak, and duck-typed languages
      3m 51s
    3. Working with numbers
      5m 4s
    4. Using characters and strings
      4m 5s
    5. Working with operators
      4m 47s
    6. Properly using white space
      6m 46s
    7. Adding comments to code for human understanding
      1m 49s
  5. 24m 49s
    1. Building with the if statement
      7m 35s
    2. Working with complex conditions
      4m 10s
    3. Setting comparison operators
      6m 59s
    4. Using the switch statement
      6m 5s
  6. 17m 56s
    1. Breaking your code apart
      4m 1s
    2. Creating and calling functions
      2m 57s
    3. Setting parameters and arguments
      6m 7s
    4. Understanding variable scope
      2m 23s
    5. Splitting code into different files
      2m 28s
  7. 13m 32s
    1. Introduction to iteration
      4m 28s
    2. Writing a while statement
      5m 24s
    3. Creating a for loop
      3m 40s
  8. 19m 28s
    1. Cleaning up with string concatenation
      4m 30s
    2. Finding patterns in strings
      8m 3s
    3. Introduction to regular expressions
      6m 55s
  9. 19m 59s
    1. Working with arrays
      5m 47s
    2. Array behavior
      5m 29s
    3. Iterating through collections
      5m 18s
    4. Collections in other languages
      3m 25s
  10. 10m 50s
    1. Programming style
      5m 55s
    2. Writing pseudocode
      4m 55s
  11. 25m 55s
    1. Input/output and persistence
      3m 6s
    2. Reading and writing from the DOM
      8m 11s
    3. Event driven programming
      7m 47s
    4. Introduction to file I/O
      6m 51s
  12. 24m 26s
    1. Introduction to debugging
      5m 57s
    2. Tracing through a section of code
      7m 5s
    3. Understanding error messages
      3m 21s
    4. Using debuggers
      8m 3s
  13. 14m 17s
    1. Introduction to object-oriented languages
      5m 18s
    2. Using classes and objects
      6m 29s
    3. Reviewing object-oriented languages
      2m 30s
  14. 11m 14s
    1. Memory management across languages
      5m 11s
    2. Introduction to algorithms
      4m 2s
    3. Introduction to multithreading
      2m 1s
  15. 29m 20s
    1. Introduction to languages
      1m 42s
    2. C-based languages
      4m 40s
    3. The Java world
      3m 13s
    4. .NET languages: C# and Visual Basic .NET
      6m 17s
    5. Ruby
      3m 4s
    6. Python
      2m 56s
    7. Objective-C
      4m 3s
    8. Libraries and frameworks
      3m 25s
  16. 1m 2s
    1. Where to go from here
      1m 2s

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Foundations of Programming: Fundamentals
4h 47m Beginner Sep 22, 2011

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

This course provides the core knowledge to begin programming in any language. Simon Allardice uses JavaScript to explore the core syntax of a programming language, and shows how to write and execute your first application and understand what's going on under the hood. The course covers creating small programs to explore conditions, loops, variables, and expressions; working with different kinds of data and seeing how they affect memory; writing modular code; and how to debug, all using different approaches to constructing software applications.

Finally, the course compares how code is written in several different languages, the libraries and frameworks that have grown around them, and the reasons to choose each one.

Topics include:
  • Writing source code
  • Understanding compiled and interpreted languages
  • Requesting input
  • Working with numbers, characters, strings, and operators
  • Writing conditional code
  • Making the code modular
  • Writing loops
  • Finding patterns in strings
  • Working with arrays and collections
  • Adopting a programming style
  • Reading and writing to various locations
  • Debugging
  • Managing memory usage
  • Learning about other languages
Subjects:
Developer Web Programming Foundations
Author:
Simon Allardice

.NET languages: C# and Visual Basic .NET

Next, I am going to talk about two languages at once. C# and Visual Basic.NET. These are the two flagship languages if you're developing on the Microsoft platform. I talk about them at the same time because although they do look different, what you do with them and how you approach them is almost identical. Now, these two languages were released in 2003 by Microsoft. Although Visual Basic had a longer history than that, it was really reinvented at that time, and this was when Microsoft released something called the .NET framework.

We can think of this as an enormous library of prewritten code, huge amounts of functionality that we can tap into if we use either of these two languages. Now, actually there are other .NET languages as well, but these are by far the most popular. Both of them are object oriented. They are all about using classes and objects, and both of them share the same characteristics. They are high-level, they are strongly typed, they use garbage collection so we don't have to worry too much about memory management, and they both use the hybrid compilation model like Java does.

They are neither strictly compiled, nor strictly interpreted. They go halfway. When you compile a C# or a VB.NET application, it compiles to something called Intermediate Language or Microsoft Intermediate Language. That then can be distributed across a whole range of different machines with different CPUs and each machine takes it the final step to go down to machine code. Just as Java requires something called the Java Virtual Machine on every computer that's going to run a Java program, .NET languages require something called the .NET Runtime to be installed on every machine.

Now, of course they're classically associated with developing on the Microsoft platform, whether that means Windows server or a Windows desktop system, or even a Windows phone. All of it can be done with these .NET languages. They both have the same capabilities for building desktop applications. You can build dynamic websites using these languages. Now, when we talk about building a website on the Microsoft platform, it's usually lumped under the term ASP.NET. It's easy to think, well, that must be another language, but it isn't.

ASP.NET is really just a useful phrase that means you're building a dynamic, smart, interactive website using Microsoft technology, and if you're doing it, you are almost certainly using either C# or VB.NET. And these languages can both be used for developing mobile applications that work on the Windows phone operating system. So while they are closely associated with the Microsoft world, they are up and down that entire stack of the Microsoft world. So what do they look like? Well, C# not surprisingly is a C- based language. It probably looks closer to Java than anything.

We have the curly braces. We have the semicolons to end the statement. We also have another use of Main. This is how we're telling the .NET Runtime where this program begins. What's the first line that should be executed? Well, in this case it's System.Console.WriteLine. And again, don't worry about the syntax. This is just a way of getting the text Hello World out to the console, just outputting a message. Like Java, we can see that the whole thing is wrapped up with this phrase public class Hello1.

That's because C# is a thoroughly object oriented language and everything is a class in it, and that means to create even the simplest application, we have to say, here's our class, here's our section called Main, this is the line that I want to execute. Now, you might have noticed that the use of curly braces is a little different here and that's because in C#, the common usage of them is to line them up to have them each on their own line matching the opening and closing curly braces.

This is what sometimes referred to as Pascal or Allman style. It's just become the accepted style in the C# world. Like other C-based languages, C# is whitespace insensitive. It doesn't matter where you put them but this is the way you are likely to see them. Well, what about Visual Basic.NET? Well, this is not a C-based language, so we don't see the semicolons at the end of a statement, we don't see the curly braces. We do still see the use of Main. Now, once again this is how we say what's the actual code that I want to run when this program begins, and we see this would end being used a lot.

Because we can't mark out where blocks of code begin and end with curly braces, we have to say if there is an If, we need an End If. If there is a Sub, which is kind of our way of doing a subroutine like a function, we have an End Sub, or a Module has End Module. By themselves, they don't actually cause anything to happen; they're just mocking out a logical area of our program. We also have this System.Console.WriteLine. This line is exactly the same as it was in C# except for the semicolon at the end of the line, which is required in C#, and that's because although the overall format of the language is different, the things that you do, the statements that you execute in a .NET language are often almost identical to each other because you have the same libraries available to you, the same functionality available to you.

Most people who can code in C# can read VB.NET just fine and the other way is true as well. So how might you get started with this? Well, Microsoft make it fairly easy to do this. You can go and download Visual Studio. That is their flagship integrated development environment and you'll find there are several different versions of it including versions that are completely free, what are called the Visual Studio Express editions. Visual Studio includes a great text editor, a compiler, a debugging tool, all the things that you need to actually get started with any of these languages.

Although, there are versions of Visual Studio that are commercial and even cost several thousand dollars, you can get started and experiment and play around with these languages and even create websites and desktop applications without spending anything. So if you're interested in this, take a look at microsoft.com/express.

Find answers to the most frequently asked questions about Foundations of Programming: Fundamentals.


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Q: Using TextEdit with Mac OS 10.9 Mavericks? 
A: If you're using the built-in TextEdit program in Mavericks to write your first examples and your code doesn't seem to be working, here's one reason why: by default, "smart quotes" are now turned on in TextEdit Preferences.
 
This is where TextEdit will automatically change pairs of double quotes to "smart quotes" - where the opening and closing quote are different, like a 66 and 99.
 
While this is fine for human eyes, programming languages don't want this - when writing code, they need to be the plain, generic straight-up-and-down quotes.
 
So make sure that in TextEdit > Preferences, that "Smart quotes" are unchecked.
 
Important! Whenever you make a change to TextEdit preferences, make sure to then completely quit out of the program (Command-Q or using TextEdit > Quit TextEdit) and then re-open it, as changes won't take effect on documents you already have open.
 
However, we're not finished - just because you've changed the preferences, it does **not** change any *existing* smart quotes back to "regular" quotes - it just doesn't add new ones - so make sure to go through your files for any time you wrote quotes and TextEdit may have changed them to smart quotes - look in both the JavaScript, and your HTML too, and compare to the downloadable exercise files if necessary.
 
If that sounds like a bit of a chore, I recommend just downloading a code editor like Sublime Text (www.sublimetext.com) or TextMate (www.macromates.com) and using that instead of TextEdit - it's only a matter of time before you'd move away from TextEdit anyway - we only used it in the course because it was built-in and a quick way to get started, but it's now become more of a inconvenience than it was before.
 
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