What You'll Need
To use this book, you'll need C#, and as discussed in Chapter 1, you can get the free C# command-line compiler by installing the .NET Framework's Software Development Kit (SDK), which you can find at http://msdn.microsoft.com/downloads as of this writing. We're going to be using C# version 2003 in this book, but if you have an earlier version, you're also OK, because the C# will be the same (be sure to read the directions in readme.txt in the code download for this book on converting Visual Studio .NET projects to earlier versions of Visual Studio).
You can also use the Visual Studio Integrated Development Environment (IDE) to create C# programs. In fact, we'll be using the IDE almost exclusively when we create Windows and Web applications (you can create these applications with the command-line compiler, but the process can become extraordinarily tedious ).
Besides C# itself, there are some additional software packages you might want. To create Web applications and Web services, you'll need access to a Web server that runs the Microsoft Internet Information Server (IIS). If you choose, you can run IIS on the same machine the IDE is on, and IIS comes with many Windows versions (although you might have to install it from the CDs that come with Windows).
We'll also work with databases in this book. To work with a database, you need a data provider like SQL Server. You can use other data providers, but C# is most often connected to SQL Server, so we'll use that data provider here. A knowledge of Structured Query Language (SQL) also helps.
And that's about itjust about everything else that you need comes with the C# command-line compiler or the Visual Studio IDE itself.