[Mono-list] Learn C# without Visual Studio

Engler, Eric Eric.Engler at zcsterling.com
Thu Apr 10 14:12:40 EDT 2008

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> I'd like to learn C#, but don't want to use Visual Studio.

First, you need to understand the difference between the C# language,
and the core areas such as ASP.NET, Web Services, Windows Forms, etc.
Most books on the language do not assume that you're using Visual
Studio. But most books on the core areas do make that assumption (but
you can still find books on the core areas that don't assume VS; ASP.NET
seems like the only core area that is always presented along with VS in

I always recommend Programming C#, by Jesse Liberty. I think the current
edition is 4. He only has a small amount of content specific to Visual
Studio and you can safely skip those pages. 

To be fair, I have seen about a dozen books on the language itself, and
I like them all. Book publishing has come a long way and there are some
very good books on the shelf!

One excellent new book that is very concise (not much fluff in other
words), and covers the 3.5 extensions (many of which don't work in mono
yet): C# in Depth. I consider this a good second book for someone who
already read another book.
There's a free book by someone who personally doesn't like Visual Studio
- - look for Dot Net Book Zero. 

I also love the SoftSteel C# tutorial:

Using these free resources, you may decide you don't need a hardcopy

But please understand one important thing: knowing the language is the
common denominator, but by itself it won't carry you very far. You'll
have to go on to learn at least one or two core areas if you want to
write useful programs that present a user interface and do something
useful. Commandline programs are a simple and fun way to learn the
language without the "noise" of an IDE, but end users will want either a
windowed UI, or a web UI. You'll also find it useful to learn back-end
stuff like web services and database I/O.


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