A Brief History of C#: Versions and Features

Category > CSHARP || Published on : Thursday, March 2, 2023 || Views: 308 || C# programming Microsoft version history features nullable reference types async streams default interface methods records top-level statements pattern matching enhancements.


C# is a powerful and widely used programming language that was developed by Microsoft. It is an object-oriented language that is used to develop a wide range of applications, including desktop, web, and mobile applications. C# has undergone significant changes and improvements over the years, with each new version introducing new features and enhancements to the language. In this article, we will take a brief look at the history of C#, its various versions, and the features that were introduced in each version.

C# is a modern, general-purpose programming language that was designed by Microsoft in the early 2000s. It was created to be simple, efficient, and easy to use for developers. C# has been around for more than two decades and has gone through several versions since its inception. In this article, we'll take a look at the version history of C# and the features introduced in each version.

C# 1.0 (2002)

C# 1.0 was the first version of the language, which was released in 2002 along with the .NET Framework 1.0. It introduced the basic features of the language, including support for classes, objects, methods, interfaces, properties, events, and control structures like if-else, loops, and switch statements. It also introduced the concept of garbage collection, which automatically frees up memory occupied by objects that are no longer in use.

C# 2.0 (2005)

C# 2.0 was released in 2005 along with Visual Studio 2005 and .NET Framework 2.0. This version of the language introduced several new features, including:

  • Generics: A feature that allows developers to create type-safe data structures and algorithms that work with any data type.
  • Anonymous Methods: A feature that allows developers to define methods without explicitly declaring the method's name or return type.
  • Iterators: A feature that simplifies the implementation of custom enumerators and provides a more natural syntax for iterating over collections.
  • Nullable Types: A feature that allows developers to assign null values to value types.

C# 3.0 (2007)

C# 3.0 was released in 2007 along with Visual Studio 2008 and .NET Framework 3.5. This version of the language introduced several new features, including:

  • Automatic Properties: A feature that simplifies the implementation of properties by generating the underlying code automatically.
  • Lambda Expressions: A feature that allows developers to define anonymous functions that can be passed as arguments to methods or stored in variables.
  • Object and Collection Initializers: A feature that simplifies the initialization of objects and collections by allowing developers to set properties and add items using a concise syntax.
  • Extension Methods: A feature that allows developers to add methods to existing types without modifying the original type.

C# 4.0 (2010)

C# 4.0 was released in 2010 along with Visual Studio 2010 and .NET Framework 4.0. This version of the language introduced several new features, including:

  • Dynamic Typing: A feature that allows developers to work with dynamic types that are resolved at runtime instead of compile time.
  • Named and Optional Arguments: A feature that simplifies the calling of methods by allowing developers to specify the names of arguments and provide default values for optional arguments.
  • Tuple Types: A feature that allows developers to create types that represent a group of values.
  • Co- and Contra-Variance: A feature that allows developers to work with generic types that are more flexible in terms of their parameter and return types.

C# 5.0 (2012)

C# 5.0 was released in 2012 along with Visual Studio 2012 and .NET Framework 4.5. This version of the language introduced several new features, including:

  • Async and Await Keywords: A feature that simplifies the implementation of asynchronous code by allowing developers to write code that appears to be synchronous.
  • Caller Information: A feature that provides information about the calling method, line number, and file name to the called method.
  • Improved Numeric Literals: A feature that allows developers to use underscores in numeric literals to improve readability.

C# 6.0 (2015)

C# 6.0 was released in 2015 along with Visual Studio 2015 and .NET Framework 4.6. This version of the language introduced several new features, including:

  • Expression-bodied members: A feature that allows developers to write simple methods, properties, and indexers using a concise syntax.
  • Null-conditional operators: A feature that simplifies the checking of null values by allowing developers to use a safe navigation operator.
  • String interpolation: A feature that simplifies the formatting of strings by allowing developers to embed expressions within string literals.

C# 7.0 (2017)

C# 7.0 was released in 2017 along with Visual Studio 2017 and .NET Framework 4.7. This version of the language introduced several new features, including:

  • Local functions: A feature that allows developers to define methods within other methods.
  • Tuples: A feature that simplifies the return of multiple values from a method.
  • Pattern matching: A feature that allows developers to use pattern matching to simplify conditional logic.

C# 7.1 (2017)

C# 7.1 was a minor update released in 2017. It introduced the async main method, which allows developers to write asynchronous code in the entry point of a console application.

C# 7.2 (2018)

C# 7.2 was released in 2018. It introduced several minor features, including:

  • Non-trailing named arguments: A feature that allows developers to specify named arguments in any order.
  • Leading underscores in numeric literals: A feature that allows developers to use leading underscores in numeric literals for readability.

C# 7.3 (2018)

C# 7.3 was also released in 2018. It introduced a few minor features, including:

  • Ref local re-assignment: A feature that allows developers to re-assign a value to a reference variable.
  • Stackalloc in nested expressions: A feature that allows developers to use stackalloc in nested expressions.

C# 8.0 (2019)

C# 8.0 was released in 2019 along with Visual Studio 2019 and .NET Core 3.0. This version of the language introduced several new features, including:

  • Nullable reference types: A feature that allows developers to specify which reference types can be null.
  • Async streams: A feature that simplifies the implementation of asynchronous code that returns a sequence of values.
  • Default interface methods: A feature that allows developers to provide a default implementation for interface methods.

C# 9.0 (2020)

C# 9.0 was released in 2020 along with .NET 5.0. This version of the language introduced several new features, including:

  • Records: A feature that provides a concise syntax for declaring immutable types.
  • Top-level statements: A feature that allows developers to write simple programs without having to define a class.
  • Pattern matching enhancements: A feature that adds new patterns and improves the existing ones.

In conclusion, C# has evolved significantly over the years, introducing new features and improvements with each version. These features have made the language more powerful, flexible, and easier to use for developers, and they have contributed to C#'s popularity as a programming language for developing applications for desktop, mobile, and web platforms.