Hey! If you love C# and building C# apps as much as I do, let's connect on Twitter or LinkedIn. I talk about this stuff all the time!

The History of C#

Uncover the rich heritage of C#, from its humble beginnings to its current status as a dominant force in modern software development. A journey through time, highlighting key milestones and influencers that shaped this beloved language.

Updated October 18, 2023

C# is an object-oriented programming language developed by Microsoft as part of its .NET framework. It was first released in 2000 and has since become a popular language for building Windows desktop and mobile applications, web applications, and games. In this article, we’ll take a look at the history of C# and how it has evolved over time.

Early beginnings

C# was first announced by Bill Gates at the Professional Developers Conference (PDC) in 1999 as part of Microsoft’s .NET initiative. The language was designed to be a modern, object-oriented alternative to C++ and Java, with a focus on simplicity, safety, and productivity.

The first version of C# was released in 2000 as part of the .NET Framework 1.0. This release included the core language features, such as classes, methods, properties, events, and inheritance, as well as a set of standard libraries for tasks like file I/O, networking, and database access.

Evolution of C#

Over the years, C# has evolved significantly through several major versions, each adding new features and improving existing ones. Here are some of the key milestones in the history of C#:

  • .NET Framework 1.0 (2000): The first release of C#, which included the core language features and standard libraries.
  • .NET Framework 1.1 (2003): This version added several new features, including anonymous methods, optional parameters, and the ability to define custom attributes.
  • .NET Framework 2.0 (2005): This release introduced the concept of language integrative features such as anonymous types, iterators, and the using statement for resource management.
  • .NET Framework 3.0 (2006): This version added several new features, including linq, dynamic objects, and the parallel class library.
  • .NET Framework 4.0 (2010): This release introduced several new features, including support for asynchronous programming, dynamic methods, and the Task Parallel Library (TPL).
  • .NET Framework 4.5 (2013): This version added several new features, including support for lambda expressions, type parameters, and the use of async/await in asynchronous programming.
  • .NET Core (2016): Microsoft introduced .NET Core, a cross-platform, open-source version of the .NET Framework that allows developers to build applications for Windows, Linux, and macOS using C#.
  • C# 8.0 (2017): This version added several new features, including support for nullable reference types, asynchronous stream operators, and the use of readonly references.

Impact on the industry

C# has had a significant impact on the software development industry since its release. Here are some of the ways in which C# has influenced the industry:

  • Simplification of code: C#’s object-oriented design and syntax make it easier for developers to write clean, maintainable code.
  • Cross-platform compatibility: With the introduction of .NET Core, C# is now a cross-platform language that can be used on Windows, Linux, and macOS.
  • Productivity: C#’s focus on productivity has led to the development of several high-productivity tools and frameworks, such as Visual Studio and ASP.NET.
  • Growth of the .NET ecosystem: C# is a key component of the .NET ecosystem, which includes a wide range of libraries, frameworks, and tools for building web, mobile, and desktop applications.


C# has come a long way since its release in 2000, evolving from a simple object-oriented language to a powerful tool for building modern applications. Its focus on productivity, simplicity, and safety has made it a popular choice among developers, and its cross-platform compatibility has opened up new opportunities for development on non-Windows platforms. As the .NET ecosystem continues to grow and mature, C# will likely remain a key player in the software development industry for years to come.