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C# | .NET Framework (Basic Architecture and Component Stack)

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Microsoft created the language C#, known as C Sharp, in the year 2000. C# is an object-oriented programming language that is used in .NET Framework. C# is designed to be simple, efficient, and versatile, and is often used to build a wide range of desktop, web, and mobile applications.

The .NET Framework is a software development framework that provides a runtime environment and a set of libraries and tools for building and running applications on Windows operating systems. The framework includes a variety of programming languages, including C#, and supports a range of application types, including desktop, web, mobile, and gaming applications.

The .NET Framework’s basic architecture consists of two key elements:

  1.  Common Language Runtime (CLR): The Common Language Runtime is responsible for managing the execution of code written in any of the .NET-supported languages. When an application is run, the CLR loads the required libraries and compiles the code into machine code that can be executed by the computer’s processor. The CLR also provides a number of services, such as automatic memory management and security, that help ensure that applications are reliable and secure. 
  2. .NET Framework Class Library (FCL): The .NET Framework Class Library provides a large set of pre-built functions and classes that can be used to create a wide range of applications. The library includes a variety of namespaces that provide access to classes that provide features such as file I/O, networking, database access, and graphical user interface (GUI) design. The library also includes a number of development tools, such as the Visual Studio integrated development environment (IDE), which provides a powerful set of tools for developing and debugging .NET applications.

In addition to the CLR and the .NET Framework Class Library, the .NET Framework includes a number of other components, such as the Common Type System (CTS), the Common Intermediate Language (CIL), and the Just-In-Time (JIT) compiler. These components work together to provide a powerful and versatile development platform that can be used to build a wide range of applications.

Overall, C# and the .NET Framework provide a powerful and versatile development platform that is widely used for building desktop, web, and mobile applications on Windows operating systems.

.NET is a software framework which is designed and developed by Microsoft. The first version of .Net framework was 1.0 which came in the year 2002. In easy words, it is a virtual machine for compiling and executing programs written in different languages like C#, VB.Net, etc. It is used to develop Form-based applications, Web-based applications, and Web services. There is a variety of programming languages available on the .Net platform, VB.Net and C# being the most common ones are. It is used to build applications for Windows, phone, web, etc. It provides a lot of functionalities and also supports industry standards.

Basic Architecture and Component Stack of .NET Framework

The first three components from the bottom are considered as the basic architecture of .Net framework which came in the year 2005 and after this more components were added by Microsoft in the .Net Framework as following :

.Net Framework Component Stack

.Net Framework Component Stack

1. CLR (Common Language Runtime): It is a run-time environment that executes the code written in any .NET programming language. .Net framework provides support for many languages like C#, F#, C++, Cobra, Jscript.Net, VB.Net, Oxygene, etc.

2. FCL (Framework Class Library) : A large number of class libraries are present in this framework which is known as FCL.

3. Types of Applications: Mainly the applications that are built in the .Net framework are divided into the following three categories :

  • WinForms: Form–Based applications are considered under this category. In simple terms, we can say client-based applications that read and write the file system come under this category.
  • ASP .NET: Web-based applications come under this category. ASP.Net is a framework for the web and it provides an awesome integration of HTML, CSS, and JavaScript which makes it useful to develop web applications, websites, and web services. Web services were added in .Net Framework 2.0 and considered as a part of ASP.NET web applications.
  • ADO .NET: It includes the applications that are developed to communicate with the database like MS SQL Server, Oracle, etc. It mainly consists of classes that can be used to connect, retrieve, insert, and delete data.

4. WPF (Windows Presentation Foundation): Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF) is a graphical subsystem given by Microsoft that uses DirectX and is used in Windows-based applications for rendering UI (User Interface). WPF was initially released as part of .NET Framework 3.0 in 2006 and was previously known as “Avalon”.

5. WCF (Windows Communication Foundation): It is a framework for building connected and service-oriented applications used to transmit data asynchronously from one service endpoint to another service point. It was previously known as the Indigo.

6. WF (Windows Workflow Foundation): It is a technology given by Microsoft that provides a platform for building workflows within .Net applications.

7. Card Space: It is a Microsoft .NET Framework software client that is designed to let users provide their digital identity to online services in a secure, simple, and trusted way.

8. LINQ (Language Integrated Query): It is introduced in .Net framework version 3.5. Basically, it is a query language used to make the query for data sources with VB or C# programming languages.

9. Entity Framework: It is an open–source ORM (Object Relational Mapping) based framework that comes into .Net Framework version 3.5. It enables the .Net developer to work with a database using .Net objects. Before the entity framework, .Net developers performed a lot of things related to databases. Like to open a connection to the database, developers have to create a Data Set to fetch or submit the data to the database, convert data from the Data Set to .NET objects, or vice-versa. It creates difficulties for developers and also it was an error-prone process, then “Entity Framework” comes to automate all these database-related activities for the application. So, Entity Framework allows the developers to work at a higher level of abstraction. 

Note: REST (Representational State Transfer) and AJAX were added in .Net Framework 3.5 as an extension and services of ASP.NET for enhancing web services of .NET Framework.

10. Parallel LINQ (Language Integrated Query): It comes in .Net Framework version 4.0 and is also termed PLINQ. It provides a concurrent query execution engine for LINQ. It executes the LINQ in parallel such that it tries to use as much processing power the system on which it is executing.

11. TPL (Task Parallel Library): It is a set of public types and APIs. It allows the developers to be more productive by simplifying the process of adding concurrency and parallelism to .Net applications.

12. .NET API For Store/UWP Apps: In 2012, Microsoft added some APIs for creating UWP(Universal Windows Platform) apps for Windows using C# or VB.

13. Task-Based Asynchronous Model: It is a model used to describe the asynchronous operations and tasks in the .Net Framework.

Last Updated : 20 Sep, 2023
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