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C# is sort of like Java and C++, but not really.

Sometimes nerves can get a tad frayed when it comes to programming language. First off, it appears there’s a bit of discord over what the differences actually are between JavaScript Object Notation (JSON) and C#

Secondly, on specialist tech portals such as Reddit and Github communities have been asking their contemporaries for some-time “what is the best programming language?” Those who steer away from comparisons suggest, somewhat tersely, “choose the language that’s in the most programming jobs available in your area” whilst others say “why does it matter, they all fit their own purpose?”

C# is sort of Java with reliability, productivity and security deleted

James Gosling, creator of Java programming language 1994.

Bit harsh? 16 years ago Microsoft Corp. launched C# from within its .Net initiative and around the time of the launch in July 2000 its creator Anders Hejlsberg retorted C# is "not a Java clone" and is "much closer to C++" in its design. Incidentally C#’s mascot was named “Andy” (named after Hejlsberg himself), “Andy” has since been retired whilst Hejlsberg continues on.

Regardless of the similarities or indeed differences between Java, C++ and C#, what does the future look like for C#?

It’s Azured.

C# is on the curve of change, as Microsoft focuses entirely on Windows and creates cross-platform tools that it hopes will push developers towards its Azure cloud services. Their intentions being developers use Azure as a back-end for mobile applications, or as a deployment platform for server applications irrespective of the operating system.

In the true course of tech of course, there are always some winners and losers along the way.

In 2014 the software giant split its .NET development platform thus creating the open source .NET Core project which runs on Windows, Mac and Linux and earlier this year, it acquired Xamarin, thus enabling C# and .NET developers to target Android, iOS and Mac as well as Windows.

Not without risks some say, as this attainment was potentially in direct conflict with Microsoft’s ongoing cross-platform mobile strategy coupled with the fact that Windows 10 was meant to marshal the era of the Universal Windows Platform (UWP), allowing developers to write one application and have it run on devices ranging from Raspberry Pi, smartphones and Xbox consoles, to tablets and PCs. However all those good intentions fell a bit flat for clients who used non-Windows platforms combined with Microsoft nobly admitting defeat in the ‘Mobile OS wars’ to iOS and Android.

But it’s not all doom and gloom. Lest we forget Azure has been cutting the market up, growing 120% year on year and mounting the only real competition for the gargantuan success that is Amazon Web Services (AWS).  Some are predicting that Microsoft cloud products will make up 30% of their revenues by 2018, an increase of 19% from 2015.

Microsoft also has big plans for its commercial cloud services and therefore its data centres in Europe and joining it’s Irish and Dutch cousins, the UK is to be the next target for its data centre expansion, to be opened late 2016 and to all intents and purposes so far un-deterred by #Brexit.

“By expanding our data centre regions in the UK, Netherlands and Ireland we aim to give local businesses and organisations of all sizes the transformative technology they need to seize new global growth,”
said Microsoft Corp. CEO Satya Nadella

The bad news in all this is that Microsoft’s “Intelligent Cloud” could be hurting it substantially in terms of profitability as its overall margins are eaten away, due to aggressive competitive pricing against AWS and the like to garner client up-take.

C# is for sexy.

Meanwhile, Microsoft is continuing to evolve its C# language as it lines up to release C# 7.0, which is expected to ship with the next version of Visual Studio, now in preview, that includes several new features including pattern matching, tuple syntax and nullable references.

Continuously impressive is the community aspect of programming language, which according to Mads Torgersen the Zen master of language spec and language design process (or more officially the Program Manager for the C# Language):

“Everything is out there to be scrutinised and that means we get an immediate feedback loop that we didn’t have before.”

In C#’s colourful history there have been major innovations such as LINQ and the Roslyn compiler, so will there be further changes? It doesn’t look like it, as Torgersen recently suggested “C# is now in a more incremental phase.”

What about that programming language community, tight and inter-connected as they are? With a recent report carried out by IT Jobs Watch, SQL, Java, Javascript and C# top the league of the 12 most desirable programming languages by employers in the UK in 2016 whilst top emergent languages snap at their heels on the up and up of sought after skills including Rust, Google go, Swift, Scala and Julia.

So what with Glassdoor, amongst others, recently publishing a report on the top 25 most lucrative, in-demand jobs, more than half of the jobs listed are in tech and require programming skills – it seems they’re a very sexy bunch indeed.