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Hello World -- Your First Program (C# Programming Guide)

The following console program is the C# version of the traditional "Hello World!" program, which displays the string Hello World!.

using System;
// A "Hello World!" program in C#
namespace HelloWorld
{
    class Hello 
    {
        static void Main() 
        {
            System.Console.WriteLine("Hello World!");
        }
    }
}

Let us now look at the important parts of this program in turn.

Comments

The first line contains a comment:

// A "Hello World!" program in C#

The characters // convert the rest of the line to a comment. You can also comment a block of text by placing it between the characters /* and */, for example:

/* A "Hello World!" program in C#.
This program displays the string "Hello World!" on the screen. */

The Main Method

The C# program must contain a Main method, in which control starts and ends. The Main method is where you create objects and execute other methods.

The Main method is a static method that resides inside a class or a struct. In the previous "Hello World!" example, it resides in a class called Hello. Declare the Main method in one of the following ways:

  • It can return void:

    static void Main()
    {
        //...
    }
    
    
  • It can also return an int:

    static int Main()
    {
        //...
        return 0;
    }
    
    
  • With both of the return types, it can take arguments:

    static void Main(string[] args)
    {
        //...
    }
    
    

    -or-

    static int Main(string[] args)
    {
        //...
        return 0;
    }
    
    

The parameter of the Main method is a string array that represents the command-line arguments used to invoke the program. Notice that, unlike C++, this array does not include the name of the executable (exe) file.

For more information on using command-line arguments, see the example in Main() and Command Line Arguments (C# Programming Guide) and How to: Create and Use C# DLLs (C# Programming Guide).

Input and Output

C# programs generally use the input/output services provided by the run-time library of the .NET Framework. The statement, System.Console.WriteLine("Hello World!"); uses the WriteLine method, one of the output methods of the Console class in the run-time library. It displays its string parameter on the standard output stream followed by a new line. Other Console methods are used for different input and output operations. If you include the using System; directive at the beginning of the program, you can directly use the System classes and methods without fully qualifying them. For example, you can call Console.WriteLine instead, without specifying System.Console.Writeline:

using System;

Console.WriteLine("Hello World!");

For more information on input/output methods, see System.IO.

Compilation and Execution

You can compile the "Hello World!" program either by creating a project in the Visual Studio IDE, or by using the command line. Use the Visual Studio Command Prompt or invoke vsvars32.bat to put the Visual C# tool set on the path in your command prompt.

To compile the program from the command line:

  • Create the source file using any text editor and save it using a name such as Hello.cs. C# source code files use the extension .cs.

  • To invoke the compiler, enter the command:

    csc Hello.cs

    If your program does not contain any compilation errors, a Hello.exe file will be created.

  • To run the program, enter the command:

    Hello

For more information on the C# compiler and its options, see C# Compiler Options.

See Also

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