Programming languages exist to help developers be more productive. Many successful languages simplify or automate tedious tasks that previously had to be done by hand. Some offer new techniques that allow old problems to be tackled more effectively, or on a larger scale than before. How much difference C# can make to you will depend on your programming background, of course, so it s worth considering what sorts of people the language designers had in mind when they created C#. C# is aimed at developers working on the Windows platform, and its syntax is instantly familiar to users of C or C++, or other languages that draw from the same tradition, such as JavaScript and Java. Fundamental language elements such as statements, expressions, function declarations, and flow control are modeled as closely as possible on their equivalents in C family languages.

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is a cross-platform, graphical, application development toolkit that enables you to compile and run your applications on Windows, Mac OS X, Linux, and different brands of Unix. A large part of Qt is devoted to providing a platform-neutral interface to everything, ranging from representing characters in memory to creating a multithreaded graphical application.

elcome to Foundations of Atlas. This book is intended to get you up and running with the new framework from Microsoft that allows you to build web 2.0 applications that implement Ajax functionality. If you ve been working in the web field at all, you will have found Ajax hard to avoid and even harder to implement. Microsoft has thrown its hat into the Ajax arena by doing what it does best giving you, the developer, tools that allow you to be productive and solve your business needs. This chapter will bring you up-to-date on web application technology from the dawn of computing history to today, putting Ajax and Atlas in context. It s the beginning of what I hope will be a fun and informative ride.

A familiar syntax is not enough of a reason to pick a language, of course, so C# offers productivity-enhancing features not found in some of its predecessors. Garbage collection frees developers from the tyranny of common memory management problems such as memory leaks and circular references. Verifiable type safety of compiled code rules out a wide range of bugs and potential security flaws. While C or C++ Windows developers may not be accustomed to those features, they will seem old hat to Java veterans, but Java has nothing to compete with the LINQ features C# offers for working with collections of information, whether in object models, XML documents, or databases. Integrating code from external components is remarkably painless, even those written in other languages. C# also incorporates support for functional programming, a powerful feature previously most commonly seen in academic languages. Many of the most useful features available to C# developers come from the .NET Framework, which provides the runtime environment and libraries for C#, and all other .NET languages, such as VB.NET. C# was designed for .NET, and one of the main benefits of its close relationship with the .NET Framework is that working with framework features such as the class library feels very natural.

Working in C# means more than using just the language the classes offered by the .NET Framework are an extremely important part of the C# developer s everyday experience (and they account for a lot of this book s content). Most of the library functionality falls into one of three categories: utility features written in .NET, wrappers around Windows functionality, and frameworks. The first group comprises utility types such as dictionaries, lists, and other collection classes, as well as string manipulation facilities such as a regular expression engine. There are also features that operate on a slightly larger scale, such as the object models for representing XML documents. Some library features are wrappers around underlying OS functionality. For example, there are classes for accessing the filesystem, and for using network features such as sockets. And there are classes for writing output to the console, which we can illustrate with the obligatory first example of any programming language book, shown in Example 1-1.

class Program { static void Main() { System.Console.WriteLine("Hello, world"); } }

Note Even though Qt was originally developed to help C++ programmers, bindings are available for a

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