Thursday, October 28, 2010

The .NET Framework

The .NET Framework, introduced by Microsoft in 2002, is a programming platform and set of tools for building and running distributed applications in the Internet era. It also contains an object-oriented class library and a collection of reusable types (a type is a representation of data such as classes) that enable you to accomplish many common programming tasks such as file access, string manipulation, and database management. The class library is categorized into modules (referred to as namespaces) and includes types that support a variety of applications such as:

  • Console applications
  • Windows forms
  • ASP.NET applications
  • XML web services
  • Windows services
  • SQL Server applications
  • Small device applications

In fact, C# is one of the .NET languages that Microsoft developed. The other languages that use .NET are Visual Basic .NET, J#, and Managed C++, in addition to languages developed by other companies. (See more details on the web site: All these languages work under the .NET umbrella and use its libraries. Actually, you can write an application with modules written in different languages that support .NET.

In addition to the class library, the .NET Framework includes the Common Language Runtime (CLR), an integrated environment for executing applications using the .NET library.

There are other versions of the .NET Framework that work with operating systems other than Microsoft Windows, such as Mono. Mono can run on operating systems such as Mac OS X and Linux. There is also a subset of the .NET Framework called the Microsoft .NET Compact Framework that can be used with small devices and smart phones. There is even a Micro Framework for extremely low-power devices, such as watches.
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