What is it? It's the...

Sun, September 26, 2004, 05:08 PM under dotNET
If you are new to the .NET platform, regardless of your background (C++, Java, VB etc) it is important to understand that "it's the runtime stupid" (written/posted in 2002, a couple of months after .NET was RTM)

The point is to forget about the language. Language selection is a matter of upbringing and syntax choice. What is important is the framework. So when starting out, choose any language[1] and then search the web/books/magazines/newsgroups/whatever for topics on the following list:

Namespaces, assemblies
Reference types vs ValueTypes (boxing/unboxing)
Exception Handling
Delegates and Events
GC (and the dispose pattern)
Reflection [+ you must know how to use ILDASM or some other decompiler]
Versioning and deployment

Links are not provided for the above topics by design. Go discover them yourself, and only then start writing .NET software that is intended to leave your PC and run on somebody else's. Also note that, by design, there is no mention on WinForms, WebForms, Data access, remoting, COM Interop or platform invoke. One or more of these topics will have to be explored while writing a .NET app but all of the topics on my first list must be understood in order to write any professional .NET app.

Another important point is to know your tool. After knocking up your first hello world app in VS, just seat back and take a tour of the IDE e.g. explore every menu and find out what the menu items do. In particular open all windows from the View and Debug menus and examine them. Go to Tools->Options and check out all of the options available (this is a good way to discover the IDE).

[1] more on language choice in the coming days