Writing to the Console

In interactive use of csharp, you can type an expression and immediately see the result of its evaluation. This is fine to test out syntax and maybe do simple calculator calculations. In a regular C# program run from a file like in A Sample C# Program, you must explicitly give instructions to print to a console or terminal window. This will be a window like you see when running csharp.

This printing is accomplished through a function with a long name: Console.WriteLine. Like with math, you can pass a function a value to work on, by placing it in parentheses after the name of the function. Unlike in high school algebra classes, in C# we have many types of data to supply other than numbers. The simplest way to use the Console.WriteLine function is to give it a string. We can demonstrate in csharp. The response is just the line that would be printed in a regular program:

csharp> Console.WriteLine("Hello, world!");
Hello, world!

What is printed to the screen does not have the quotes which we needed to define the literal string "Hello, world!" inside the program.

Console is a C# class maintained by the system, that interacts with the terminal or console window where text output appears for the program. A function defined in that class is WriteLine. To refer to a function like WriteLine in a different class, you must indicate the location of the function with the “dot” notation shown: class name, then ., then the function. This gives the more elaborate name needed in the program.

The string that gets printed can be the result of evaluating an expression, for instance concatenating:

csharp> int total = 5;
csharp> Console.WriteLine("All together: " + total);
All together: 5

More elaborate use of WriteLine is discussed in String Format Operation.

The Console.WriteLine function automatically makes the printing position advance to the next line, as when you press the Enter or Return key. A variant, Console.Write, prints the parameter exactly, and nothing else. The statement-at-a-time approach in csharp is not good for illustrating the differences.

Printing is better shown off in a real program….