Tue March 09 2021
Learn  |  Reference  |  Code Base  |  Solutions  |  Freelancing  |  Tips & Tricks  |  Downloads  |  Reviews  |  Affiliate  |  Make a Donation  |  Home
Microsoft .NET Framework
The Microsoft .NET Framework is a software framework that can be installed on computers running Microsoft Windows operating systems. It includes a large library of coded solutions to common programming problems and a virtual machine that manages the execution of programs written specifically for the framework. The .NET Framework is a Microsoft offering and is intended to be used by most new applications created for the Windows platform.

The framework's Base Class Library provides a large range of features including user interface, data and data access, database connectivity, cryptography, web application development, numeric algorithms, and network communications. The class library is used by programmers, who combine it with their own code to produce applications.

Programs written for the .NET Framework execute in a software environment that manages the program's runtime requirements. Also part of the .NET Framework, this runtime environment is known as the Common Language Runtime (CLR). The CLR provides the appearance of an application virtual machine so that programmers need not consider the capabilities of the specific CPU that will execute the program. The CLR also provides other important services such as security, memory management, and exception handling. The class library and the CLR together constitute the .NET Framework.

Version 3.0 of the .NET Framework is included with Windows Server 2008 and Windows Vista. The current version of the framework can also be installed on Windows XP and the Windows Server 2003 family of operating systems. A reduced version of the .NET Framework, the .NET Compact Framework, is also available on Windows Mobile platforms, including smartphones. Version 4.0 of the framework was released as a public Beta on 20 May 2009.

Principal design features of .NET Framework

Interoperability
Because interaction between new and older applications is commonly required, the .NET Framework provides means to access functionality that is implemented in programs that execute outside the .NET environment. Access to COM components is provided in the System.Runtime.InteropServices and System.EnterpriseServices namespaces of the framework; access to other functionality is provided using the P/Invoke feature.

Common Runtime Engine
The Common Language Runtime (CLR) is the virtual machine component of the .NET framework. All .NET programs execute under the supervision of the CLR, guaranteeing certain properties and behaviors in the areas of memory management, security, and exception handling.

Language Independence
The .NET Framework introduces a Common Type System, or CTS. The CTS specification defines all possible datatypes and programming constructs supported by the CLR and how they may or may not interact with each other. Because of this feature, the .NET Framework supports the exchange of instances of types between programs written in any of the .NET languages. This is discussed in more detail in Microsoft .NET Languages.

Base Class Library
The Base Class Library (BCL), part of the Framework Class Library (FCL), is a library of functionality available to all languages using the .NET Framework. The BCL provides classes which encapsulate a number of common functions, including file reading and writing, graphic rendering, database interaction and XML document manipulation.

Simplified Deployment
The .NET framework includes design features and tools that help manage the installation of computer software to ensure that it does not interfere with previously installed software, and that it conforms to security requirements.

Security
The design is meant to address some of the vulnerabilities, such as buffer overflows, that have been exploited by malicious software. Additionally, .NET provides a common security model for all applications.

Portability
The design of the .NET Framework allows it to theoretically be platform agnostic, and thus cross-platform compatible. That is, a program written to use the framework should run without change on any type of system for which the framework is implemented. Microsoft's commercial implementations of the framework cover Windows, Windows CE, and the Xbox 360. In addition, Microsoft submits the specifications for the Common Language Infrastructure (which includes the core class libraries, Common Type System, and the Common Intermediate Language), the C# language, and the C++/CLI language to both ECMA and the ISO, making them available as open standards. This makes it possible for third parties to create compatible implementations of the framework and its languages on other platforms.