This section provides a quick introduction of the .NET Framework, which was first released in 2002. The .NET Framework provides virtual machine on Windows system to run applications written in different languages.
What Is .NET Framework? -
.NET Framework is a software framework developed by Microsoft
that runs on Windows systems to provide the CLR (Common Language Runtime) virtual machine
where applications written in different languages can be executed.
.NET Framework also provides a large library of software codes to help applications
in area of user interface, data access, database connectivity, cryptography,
web application development, numeric algorithms, and network communications.
The first version of .NET Framework was released in Feb. 2002.
The current version is .NET 4.5 which was released in Feb. 2012.
Main features of .NET Framework as documented on wikipedia.org:
Common Language Runtime (CLR) Engine -
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.
Interoperability - Two libraries, System.Runtime.InteropServices and System.EnterpriseServices
are provided to support COM components executed outside the CLR. The P/Invoke feature
can also be used to access other functionalities outside the CLR.
Language Independence -
A Common Type System (CTS) is used to define all possible datatypes and programming constructs
supported by the CLR and how they may or may not interact with each other conforming
to the Common Language Infrastructure (CLI) specification.
Because of this feature, the .NET Framework supports the exchange of types and object
instances between libraries and applications written using any conforming .NET language.
Base Class Library (BCL) -
As part of the Framework Class Library (FCL), BCL is a library of functionality available
to all languages using the .NET Framework. The BCL provides classes
that encapsulate a number of common functions, including file reading and writing,
graphic rendering, database interaction, XML document manipulation, and so on.
Simplified Deployment -
The .NET Framework includes design features and tools which help manage
the installation of computer software to ensure it does not interfere
with previously installed software, and it conforms to security requirements.
The design is meant to address some of the vulnerabilities, such as buffer overflows,
which have been exploited by malicious software. Additionally, .NET provides
a common security model for all applications.
While Microsoft has never implemented the full framework on any system except Microsoft Windows,
the framework is engineered to be platform agnostic, and cross-platform implementations
are available for other operating systems.
The picture below provides an overview of the Common Language Infrastructure (CLI) of the .NET Framework: