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.
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.NET is essentially a system application that runs on Windows. The heart of .NET is the .NET Framework. The most important component of the framework is the CLR as the heart and soul of the .NET architecture. Every application written using the Framework depends on the CLR. Among other things, the CLR provides a common set of data types, acting as a foundation for C#, VB, and all other languages that target the .NET Framework. Because this foundation is the same no matter which language they choose, developers see a more consistent environment.
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The Microsoft .NET Framework is a software technology that provides a new programming interface to Windows services and APIs, and an amazing convergence of many technologies. The Microsoft .NET Framework is a set of languages, including C#, J#, and VB.NET; a set of development tools, including Visual Studio .NET; a comprehensive class library for building web services and web and Windows applications; as well as the Common Language Runtime (CLR).It also includes the Base Class Libraries (BCL), offering ways to utilize Collections, I/O, networking, among others. A complex stack of libraries is built on top of the BCL, including technologies like ADO.NET for database access, XML APIs to manipulate XML data, and Windows Forms to display rich user interfaces (UIs). These components collectively form the largest part of the Microsoft .NET Framework.
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