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Introduction to .NET Framework

  • Difficulty Level : Easy
  • Last Updated : 11 Aug, 2021

.NET is a software framework that is designed and developed by Microsoft. The first version of the .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. It is used to build applications for Windows, phones, web, etc. It provides a lot of functionalities and also supports industry standards. 

.NET Framework supports more than 60 programming languages in which 11 programming languages are designed and developed by Microsoft. The remaining Non-Microsoft Languages are supported by .NET Framework but not designed and developed by Microsoft. 

11 Programming Languages which are designed and developed by Microsoft are: 

  • C#.NET
  • VB.NET
  • C++.NET
  • J#.NET
  • F#.NET
  • ASML(Abstract State Machine Language)

Main Components of .NET Framework

Common Language Runtime(CLR): CLR is the basic and Virtual Machine component of the .NET Framework. It is the run-time environment in the .NET Framework that runs the codes and helps in making the development process easier by providing various services such as remoting, thread management, type-safety, memory management, robustness, etc.. Basically, it is responsible for managing the execution of .NET programs regardless of any .NET programming language. It also helps in the management of code, as code that targets the runtime is known as the Managed Code, and code that doesn’t target to runtime is known as Unmanaged code. 

Framework Class Library(FCL): It is the collection of reusable, object-oriented class libraries and methods, etc that can be integrated with CLR. Also called the Assemblies. It is just like the header files in C/C++ and packages in java. Installing the .NET framework basically is the installation of CLR and FCL into the system. Below is the overview of the .NET Framework 


.NET Framework Components

Is .NET application platform dependent or platform independent?

The combination of Operating System Architecture and CPU Architecture is known as the platform. Platform dependent means the programming language code will run only on particular Operating System. A .NET application is platform-dependent because of the .NET framework which is only able to run on the Windows-based operating system. The .Net application is platform-independent also because of the Mono framework. Using the Mono framework the .Net application can run on any Operating System including windows. Mono framework is a third-party software developed by Novell Company which is now a part of Micro Focus Company. It is a paid framework. 

Release History of .NET Framework and its compatibility with the different Windows version

.NET VersionCLR Version

Development tool

Windows Support
1.01.0Visual Studio .NETXP SP1
1.11.1Visual Studio .NET 2003XP SP2, SP3
2.02.0Visual Studio 2005N/A
3.02.0Expression BlendVista
3.52.0Visual Studio 20087, 8, 8.1, 10
4.04Visual Studio 2010N/A
4.54Visual Studio 20128
4.5.14Visual Studio 20138.1
4.64Visual Studio 201510 v1507
4.6.14Visual Studio 2015 Update 110 v1511
4.6.24N/A10 v1607
4.74Visual Studio 201710 v1703
4.7.14Visual Studio 201710 v1709
4.7.24Visual Studio 201710v 1803

Important Points: 

  • 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.
  • In the older version of Windows OS like XP SP1, SP2, or SP3, the .NET framework was integrated with the installation media.
  • 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.
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