Welcome to War...

During week one of PSU's application development class, we got VB2008 express installed and began exploring Visual Studio. The goal of the week was to create a text version of the popular card game war using a basic windows form. The project was great start for learning VB because there were enough situational contexts to become familiar with common code logic and syntax.

This was my first experience with .NET and it had been a since my last encounter with VBA. I found VB 2008 to be fun, but wordy. Needing to add endtags (ex. EndIf) and logical opertors as words( ex. "If not" instead of "!="). The IDE does handle a good amount of the labor, the extra characters add additional clutter to the page.

After completing the project, I decided to download C#2008 express and see if that was any better. I took my VB project and started re-writing the code. It helped that the IDE layout was the same and the C# syntax is reminiscent of actionscript. In no time I had my interfaces, card, deck, and war classes ready to go. Here are some code highlights:

In the VB interfaces, the user defines read-only / write-only accessors explicitly, followed by property/method name and type.

Module Interfaces
Interface ICard
WriteOnly Property Number() As Integer
ReadOnly Property Rank() As String
ReadOnly Property Description() As String
ReadOnly Property Suit() As String
ReadOnly Property Value() As Integer
End Interface

Interface IDeck
ReadOnly Property CardsLeft() As Integer
Sub Shuffle()
Function DealCard() As Card
End Interface
End Module

In C# interfaces it is the opposite. The user firest defines type, then the property/method, and finally implicitly indicates read-only/write-only accessors through getter/setter methods.
namespace Cards_CSharp
public interface ICard
// Property declarations
int number {set;}
int value {get;}
string rank {get;}
string description {get;}
string suit {get;}

public interface IDeck
// Method declarations
void openDeck();
void shuffle();
ICard dealCard();

Both VB and C# implement the appropriate getters/setters to obey the interface, but I found the C# syntax to be easier:

Public Class Card
Implements ICard
Private m_intCardNum As Integer
Public WriteOnly Property Number() As Integer Implements Interfaces.ICard.Number
Set(ByVal value As Integer)
If value > 0 And value <>
m_intCardNum = value
End If
End Set
End Property

The VB class attaches the interface property name explicitly to their respective implementation (ex. public property ... implements Interfaces.ICard ...). I decided to opt-out of this for the C# version. Instead the interface is specified in the class definition and the compiler lets me know if I've missed a property.

class Card : ICard
private int _intCardNum;
public Card()

public int number
_intCardNum = (value > 0 && value <>

On the final line of code, I use an inline if statement. I think these sorts of statements can get dangerous if too many conditionals are aggregated together. But in this case, I felt it was cleaner and not hard to follow. The general structure for an inline conditional is:

property = ( if this statement is true ) ? true value : else false value ;

Deck- One of the key methods for the game was Deck.shuffle(). In that

Overall I preferred the coding of the game in C#, but so far I'm not crazy about the IDE. I found Visual Studio to be a bit cluttered with tools, wizards and alert boxes. I should probably invest some time in learning the short-cut keys, as using the menu options is tedious (ex. stop debugger). I thought that the design view was convenient for control layout, but not for defining their names (ids). Also I couldn't figure out how to tab code in VB to get a straight vertical columns of code.

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