Microsoft started development on the .NET Framework in the late 1990s originally under the name of Next Generation Windows Services (NGWS). By late 2000 the first beta versions of .NET 1.0 were released.
The .NET Framework stack.
|Version||Version Number||Release Date|
.NET Framework 1.0
This is the first release of the .NET Framework. Released on February 13, 2002. Available for Windows 98, NT 4.0, 2000, and XP. Mainstream support by Microsoft for this version ended July 10th, 2007, and extended support ends July 14th, 2009.
.NET Framework 1.1
This is the first major .NET Framework upgrade. It is available on its own as a redistributable package or in a software development kit, and was published on April 3, 2003. It is also part of the second release of Microsoft Visual Studio .NET (released as Visual Studio .NET 2003). This is the first version of the .NET Framework to be included as part of the Windows operating system, shipping with Windows Server 2003. Mainstream support for .NET Framework 1.1 ends on October 14th, 2008, and extended support ends on October 8th, 2013. Since .NET 1.1 is a component of Windows Server 2003, extended support for .NET 1.1 on Server 2003 will run out with that of the OS – currently June 30th, 2013.
Changes since 1.0
- Built-in support for mobile ASP.NET controls. Previously available as an add-on for .NET Framework, now part of the framework.
- Security changes – enable Windows Forms assemblies to execute in a semi-trusted manner from the Internet, and enable Code Access Security in ASP.NET applications.
- Built-in support for ODBC and Oracle databases. Previously available as an add-on for .NET Framework 1.0, now part of the framework.
- .NET Compact Framework – a version of the .NET Framework for small devices.
- Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6) support.
- Numerous API changes.
.NET Framework 2.0
Released with Visual Studio 2005, Microsoft SQL Server 2005, and BizTalk 2006.
- The 2.0 Redistributable Package can be downloaded for free from Microsoft, and was published on 2006-01-22.
- The 2.0 Software Development Kit (SDK) can be downloaded for free from Microsoft.
- It is included as part of Visual Studio 2005 and Microsoft SQL Server 2005.
- Version 2.0 is the last version with support for Windows 2000, Windows 98 and Windows Me.
- It shipped with Windows Server 2003 R2 (not installed by default).
Changes since 1.1
- Numerous API changes.
- A new hosting API for native applications wishing to host an instance of the .NET runtime. The new API gives a fine grain control on the behavior of the runtime with regards to multithreading, memory allocation, assembly loading and more (detailed reference). It was initially developed to efficiently host the runtime in Microsoft SQL Server, which implements its own scheduler and memory manager.
- Full 64-bit support for both the x64 and the IA64 hardware platforms.
- Language support for generics built directly into the .NET CLR.
- Many additional and improved ASP.NET web controls.
- New data controls with declarative data binding.
- New personalization features for ASP.NET, such as support for themes, skins and webparts.
- .NET Micro Framework – a version of the .NET Framework related to the Smart Personal Objects Technology initiative.
.NET Framework 3.0
.NET Framework 3.0, formerly called WinFX, includes a new set of managed code APIs that are an integral part of Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008 operating systems. It is also available for Windows XP SP2 and Windows Server 2003 as a download. There are no major architectural changes included with this release; .NET Framework 3.0 uses the Common Language Runtime of .NET Framework 2.0. Unlike the previous major .NET releases there was no .NET Compact Framework release made as a counterpart of this version.
.NET Framework 3.0 consists of four major new components:
- Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF), formerly code-named Avalon; a new user interface subsystem and API based on XML and vector graphics, which uses 3D computer graphics hardware and Direct3D technologies. See WPF SDK for developer articles and documentation on WPF.
- Windows Communication Foundation (WCF), formerly code-named Indigo; a service-oriented messaging system which allows programs to interoperate locally or remotely similar to web services.
- Windows Workflow Foundation (WF) allows for building of task automation and integrated transactions using workflows.
- Windows CardSpace, formerly code-named InfoCard; a software component which securely stores a person’s digital identities and provides a unified interface for choosing the identity for a particular transaction, such as logging in to a website.
.NET Framework 3.5
Version 3.5 of the .NET Framework was released on November 19, 2007, and is included with Windows Server 2008. As with .NET Framework 3.0, version 3.5 uses the CLR of version 2.0. In addition, it installs .NET Framework 2.0 SP1 and .Net Framework 3.0 SP1, which adds some methods and properties to the BCL classes in version 2.0 which are required for version 3.5 features such as Language Integrated Query (LINQ). These changes do not affect applications written for version 2.0, however As with previous versions, a new .NET Compact Framework 3.5 was released in tandem with this update in order to provide support for additional features on Windows Mobile and Windows Embedded CE devices.
Changes since version 3.0
- New language features in C# 3.0 and VB.NET 9.0 compiler
- Adds support for expression trees and lambda methods
- Extension methods
- Expression trees to represent high-level source code at runtime.
- Anonymous types with static type inference
- Language Integrated Query (LINQ) along with its various providers
- LINQ to Objects
- LINQ to XML
- LINQ to SQL
- Paging support for ADO.NET
- ADO.NET synchronization API to synchronize local caches and server side datastores
- Asynchronous network I/O API
- Peer-to-peer networking stack, including a managed PNRP resolver
- Managed wrappers for WMI and Active Directory APIs
- Enhanced WCF and WF runtimes, which let WCF work with POX and JSON data, and also expose WF workflows as WCF services. WCF services can be made stateful using the WF persistence model.
- Support for HTTP pipelining and syndication feeds.
- ASP.NET AJAX is included
- New System.CodeDom namespace.
SP1 (codename “Arrowhead”)
.NET Framework 3.5 SP1, codenamed “Arrowhead“, will reportedly enhance support for occasionally connected applications, and provide built-in support for the Microsoft ASP.NET Model-View-Controller (MVC) Framework. “Arrowhead” will increase the cold-start performance (startup when no other .NET Framework application has been started previously) of .NET Framework applications, by as much as 25 – 40%. It will also hardware accelerate some WPF effects such as shadows, as well as general performance and API enhancements across the WPF stack. In addition, a set of WPF controls, including a DataGrid will also be included. ADO.NET Entity Framework has also been added which gives the database based application programmer a ORM (Object Relational Mapping) tool.