What is C#?
C# (pronounced "see sharp" or "C Sharp") is one of many .NET programming languages. It is object-oriented and allows you to build reusable components for a wide variety of application types Microsoft introduced C# on June 26th, 2000 and it became a v1.0 product on Feb 13th 2002. C# is an evolution of the C and C++ family of languages. However, it borrows features from other programming languages, such as Delphi and Java. If you look at the most basic syntax of both C# and Java, the code looks very similar, but then again, the code looks a lot like C++ too, which is intentional. Developers often ask questions about why C# supports certain features or works in a certain way. The answer is often rooted in it's C++ heritage. Recent language features, such as Language Integrated Query (LINQ) and Asynchronous Programming (Async) are not necessarily unique to C#, but do add to it's uniqueness.
How Does a C# Application Run?
An important point is that C# is a "managed" language, meaning that it requires the .NET Common Language Runtime (CLR) to execute. Essentially, as an application that is written in C# executes, the CLR is managing memory, performing garbage collection, handling exceptions, and providing many more services that you, as a developer, don't have to write code for. The C# compiler produces Intermediate Language (IL) , rather than machine language, and the CLR understands IL. When the CLR sees the IL, it Just-In-Time (JIT) compiles it, method by method, into compiled machine code in memory and executes it. As mentiond previously, the CLR manages the code as it executes. Because C# requires the CLR, you must have the CLR installed on your system. All new Windows operating systems ship with a version of the CLR and it is available via Windows Update for older systems. The CLR is part of the .NET, so if you see updates for the .NET Framework Runtime, it contains the CLR and .NET Framework Class Library (FCL). It follows that if you copy your C# application to another machine, then that machine must have the CLR installed too.