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What is the .Net Framework? April 8, 2008

Posted by fofo in .NET, general .net.
Tags: , ,

In this post i will try to explain in plain terms what the .Net Framework is and which are the main parts-tools of the .Net Framework.

.Net is a term that has been introduced by Microsoft to describe a set of different software products and services. Basically .Net is the vision of Microsoft on how software should be designed,implemented,tested and deployed. The heart of .Net is the .Net framework. The .Net framework is a collection of tools that allow developers to create robust applications. The main parts of the .Net framework are:

.Net Runtime

This is a core component. Some people refer to it as the “CLR” or “Common Language Runtime”. The runtime acts like a mediator between Windows and the code the programmers write. It acts as a virtual machine. It protects programmers from dealing with the memory and also protects them from malicious code. It does not require the programmer to write different code for each version of Windows.Basically when a program runs, it runs “inside” the .Net Runtime.

.Net Framework Class Library

This is also known as “FCL”. All developers who build .Net applications must become familiar with it. It contains thousand of classes each with dozen of properties and methods that allow you to do almost anything you want. Basically you reference these classes from your code and then you can use their methods and properties to connect to a database, to select,update,delete from a database, to write and read text and xml files, to send emails and more tasks.

.Net Language Compilers

The compilers take the source code written in VB , C#, J# and compile them in MSIL. The Microsoft Intermediate Language(MSIL) is what the .Net Runtime will eventually run. Basically the MSIL is an assembly file. Assemblies have an .exe or a .dll file extension.If one executes the assembly, it immediately attempts to load the .Net Runtime and the .Net Runtime executes the MSIL code.  The compiler also alerts the programmer for compilation errors that may exist in your code.