Introduction of .NET

The .NET Framework (pronounced as "dot net") is a proprietary software framework developed by Microsoft that runs primarily on Microsoft Windows. It was the predominant implementation of the Common Language Infrastructure (CLI) until being superseded by the cross-platform .NET project. It includes a large class library called Framework Class Library (FCL) and provides language interoperability (each language can use code written in other languages) across several programming languages. Programs written for .NET Framework execute in a software environment (in contrast to a hardware environment) named the Common Language Runtime (CLR). The CLR is an application virtual machine that provides services such as security, memory management, and exception handling. As such, computer code written using .NET Framework is called "managed code". FCL and CLR together constitute the .NET Framework.

What are .NET languages?

There are many popular .NET languages with benefits and negatives to each:

Visual Basic .NET (VB.NET). Once Microsoft's flagship programming language product, Visual Basic .NET is a redesigned version of the original Visual Basic that came out back in the 1990s. It's easy to program with and frequently taught in college. Visual Basic has always been a very common and very popular language, which means there are many tools, code snippets, and libraries available for its use. You can go through Github and find code to match practically any project, which also makes it an ideal solution. At the same time, Visual Basic can be difficult to optimize and improve on.

What are the main components of the .NET framework?

The .NET framework is composed of the .NET class library, Common Language Runtime, Dynamic Language Runtime, Application Domains, .NET Framework Security, Cross Language Interoperability, Side by Side Execution, and Common Type System. Within .NET, developers can work with Windows Applications, Console Applications, Web Applications, and XML Services. Learning how to use the .NET framework is a separate (and intricate) lesson from learning its major programming languages.

Important Points:

  1. Visual Studio is the development tool that is used to design and develop .NET applications. For using Visual Studio, the user has to first install the .NET framework on the system.
  2. In the older version of Windows OS like XP SP1, SP2, or SP3, the .NET framework was integrated with the installation media.
  3. Windows 8, 8.1, or 10 do not provide a pre-installed version 3.5 or later of .NET Framework. Therefore, a version higher than 3.5 must be installed either from a Windows installation media or from the Internet on demand. Windows update will give recommendations to install the .NET framework.


When an application is first launched, the .NET Framework compiles the CIL code into executable code using its just-in-time compiler, and caches the executable program into the .NET Native Image Cache. Due to caching, the application launches faster for subsequent launches, although the first launch is usually slower. To speed up the first launch, developers may use the Native Image Generator utility to manually ahead-of-time compile and cache any .NET application.


.NET Framework has its own security mechanism with two general features: Code Access Security (CAS), and validation and verification. CAS is based on evidence that is associated with a specific assembly. Typically the evidence is the source of the assembly (whether it is installed on the local machine or has been downloaded from the Internet). CAS uses evidence to determine the permissions granted to the code. Other codes can demand that calling code be granted a specified permission. The demand causes CLR to perform a call stack walk: every assembly of each method in the call stack is checked for the required permission; if any assembly is not granted the permission a security exception is thrown.

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