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C# striking a chord with programmers

Microsoft's new programming language is gaining in popularity, with usage nearly doubling in the last six months, a study shows.

Microsoft's new C# programming language is gaining in popularity, with usage nearly doubling in the last six months, a new study shows.

C# is Microsoft's new Java-like language and a crucial piece in the software company's .Net Web services strategy, in which software is made available over the Net to be accessed by multiple devices, such as PCs, cell phones and handhelds.

Twelve percent of all North American software developers have begun using C#, up from 7 percent six months ago, according to a new survey by market research firm Evans Data. The firm also predicts that the number of programmers using C# will double to 24 percent in the next year.

The majority of developers using C# are only dabbling with the new language, however. Most current C# programmers are using the new language for less than 20 percent of their development work, choosing other languages for the brunt of their work, the survey of about 800 developers showed.

C# is not displacing any languages, because most C# users are trying out the technology instead of committing to it wholeheartedly, an Evans Data representative said.

Evans reports that C# is popular among users of Microsoft's Visual Basic programming language and among those developers using Extensible Markup Language (XML). The C# language is less popular with Java developers, Evans reports.

Microsoft is using C# in its battle for software developers. The company's .Net Web services plan is up against rival technologies sold by Sun Microsystems, inventor of the Java language, and other Java backers, such as Oracle, IBM and BEA Systems.