Where C# and .NET really shines is in its native integration and low level facilities. How many other tools in the world let you debug a mixed application containing both native and managed code, all in the same IDE and in the same session, with the ability to set breakpoints in either area, view values, do memory watch points, and so on?
It also feels so incredibly easy to call native code in C#. There's even a whole web site dedicated to making it easier, pinvoke.net!
Lastly, C# itself contains several performance-sensitive features that have no JVM equivalent, including value types, unsigned integrals, and unsafe code with raw pointers. The .NET platform even has an implementation of tail recursion , now, though the C# compile will not generate IL that uses it, which makes it inaccessible for most people.
When it comes to language design, C# is a little sloppy but it more than gets the job done. In terms of tools and low-level facilities for building a real-world application, C# on the Windows .NET platform feels absolutely world-class.
For my favorite language, I of course, voted for Scala!
There is no substitute for lambdas :)
Note that the Guava lib specifically points out how ugly this is.
I prefer Clojure.
Because, no "anonymous inner classes" are no lambdas. They are, well, classes kludgily used to mimic a lambda proper.
Since the former have a proper name (closures) and the latter doesn't, I'd be inclined to call only the operator a 'lambda'. But since you can at least 'approximate' closures in Java (with anonymous inner classes), I think it's fair to say that they are "very verbose and awkward lambdas", to some definition of lambda.
I'm with you that C# is really nice to use, but interfacing with native code is a nightmare. The reason why a whole bunch of websites exist on pinvoke is because of its poor documentation and incoherent behavior.
As far as low level goes, I'm happy with C++ (if I were an embedded engineer I would say C but it is very nice to be allowed to use the C++ niceties). I think that everyone needs to have a language that can generate native code. On higher levels, python is fine for me. I simply do not have the use for an intermediate language like C# or Java, however nice they are.
Sort of. It just so happens that the tail call optimization does get used on x64 platforms because of an implementation detail of the 64-bit JIT.
That said, the Mono experience on Linux is inferior to that on Windows. MonoDevelop is nowhere near Visual Studio, so that I just develop on Windows and deploy on Linux. Unfortunately, that doesn't help the fact that both the soft and hard debuggers for Linux are nowhere near Microsoft's debuggers. It also doesn't help the fact that the runtime itself is less stable (i.e., more prone to crash) and there are APIs that only work well on Windows. I would also imagine that the Microsoft runtime exhibits much better overall performance.
My understanding is that Mono mainly excels at MonoTouch, and that is where Xamarin is making most of its money, but I am not knowledgeable in that area.
Just a historical note: The Shared Source Common Language Infrastructure  aka "Rotor" is an alternative version of the .net 2.0 platform developed by Microsoft for research/education use. It can be compiled for FreeBSD and Mac OS X 10. Its rather out of date, but maybe shows that MS did make some kind of effort to make it cross-platform.
I'm glad to see someone still uses it:)
C# is my new favourite language, and MonoDevelop is a pretty decent IDE for what it is :)
- The debugger is flaky. Sometimes it will miss a breakpoint completely. Sometimes trying to inspect local variables will crash MonoDevelop. Sometimes it will refuse to continue no matter how many times you tell it to.
- If your problem starts in Unity's native code, forget about trying to debug it. The messages are cryptic and the debugger is useless. This happens for some things you can diagnose (like running out of memory, either on the machine or the card)--although good luck figuring out what your memory hog was--and for other things that leave you completely stumped (shotgun debugging becomes your only recourse).
- Don't even attempt to use text search over multiple files (other searches, like reference searches, work fine). MonoDevelop will get stuck in an unproductive loop that never displays any results and never completes.
- Forget about profiling. Unity technically has a profiler, but it's per-frame, not cumulative. It also omits a lot of detail, especially about memory usage.
- There are also a number of minor issues, too, but they aren't deal breakers so much as annoyances.
That having been said, our particular project is rather good about pushing Unity to (and beyond) its limits, and you may never encounter any of these limitations. Still, it's worth knowing that they exist.
Footnote: These comments may be limited to the version of MonoDevelop that ships with Unity 3.3 (there are non-technical reasons why it's not worth our time to go through the effort to upgrade).
I hear you though - debugging Unity projects is a real toolchain weakness. I'm lucky if I can even get the debugger to connect.
Text search works fine for me though! I've never had a problem with it.
My worst problem with it actually is just stability, but I've never lost work with it and it restarts pretty quickly.
What are you working on, out of interest? (If you're allowed to say!) :)
> Most of those issues are with Unity not MonoDevelop, aren't they?
> Text search works fine for me though! I've never had a problem with it.
> My worst problem with it actually is just stability, but I've never
> lost work with it and it restarts pretty quickly.
> What are you working on, out of interest? (If you're allowed to say!) :)
From what I gather, HN isn't so much about being part of an "in-crowd" where you "just know" the way things are. You need to be willing to explain your arguments, otherwise you're just a snob.
Moreover, for maximum performance, mono provides facilities for users to embed native code into the runtime, much faster than Pinvoke.
I will be working on a Unity3D project and the team wants me to use C# with VS. As a Mac user and Open Source fan, I didn't jump at the idea. Glad to hear, that a lot of people think C# is a good choice. I'm excited to learn it!
Any suggestions for a good book or website? I've been programming in C and C++ quite a bit, but its been a few years. I've only been doing functional programming since then and would probably need a refresher on object oriented programming.
Can someone comment on the best development environment for Unity/C# when using a 2011 Mac Air with 4GB Ram? Should I install bootcamp, use Parallels Desktop or Unity+Mono under Mac OS?
For C# dev, it depends how hardcore you're going to be getting. Ultimately, you normally going to be scripting, not programming. getting familiar with the Unity3D API is of more use than learning high level features of C#. For instance, while C# is object oriented, >90% of the things you write will inherit from MonoBehaviour, and most of the rest are just fancy structs.
And I code on an iMac -- I use Unity natively, and the version of MonoDevelop it ships with. It works nicely!