Introduction to .NET Framework: What is .NET Framework?

Introduction to .NET Framework

Introduction to .NET Framework

The .NET Framework is a software development framework which is designed and developed by Microsoft in 2002. It's First beta version was released on 2000. The .NET Framework only runs in the Windows operating system. .NET is a virtual machine for compiling and executing programs that are written in different languages like C#, VB.Net, etc.

.NET is a framework where web-based and windows-based software (applications) are developed within the Microsoft environment.

The Common Language Runtime (CLR) in the .NET Framework acts as the soul of the framework.

The .NET Framework consists of a very large class library called the framework class library (FCL).

Note: .NET is not a language but it is a software and language-neutral platform.

Is the .NET Framework Platform Independent?

The .NET Framework is object-oriented just like the Java and c++ language but it is not platform-independent as it runs only on the Windows platform.

Programming Languages supported by .NET Framework 

There are more than 50 programming languages which are supported by .NET Framework. Some of these languages are developed by Microsoft itself. Here is a list of some .NET Programming Languages.
  • C#.NET
  • VB.NET
  • C++.NET
  • J#.NET
  • Cobol
  • Cobra
  • F#.NET
  • Forth
  • G#
  • Lua
  • ASML(Abstract State Machine Language)
In this Introduction to .NET Framework, we will also discuss about the components of .NET Framework.

The main components of the .NET Framework are: -

1: CLR (common language runtime)
2: .NET framework class library (FCL)
3: CTS (common type system)
4: Core Languages (WinForms, ASP.NET, and ADO.NET)

Common Language Runtime (CLR)

CLR acts as a virtual machine and executes all the languages. The CLR transforms the source code into byte code which we call Common Intermediate Language (CIL) or MSIL (Microsoft intermediate language).
Basically, CLR is responsible for managing the execution of .NET programs regardless of any .NET programming language. It also helps in the management of code, the code that targets the runtime is known as the Managed Code and code does not target to runtime is known as Unmanaged code.

.NET Framework class library (FCL)

FCL is a standard library of Microsoft and it is a library of reusable classes, interfaces, and value types. It is used to develop web-based, Windows GUI applications, and ASP.NET applications.
It is just as the header files in C/C++ and packages in the java.

CTS (common type system)

Common Type Stream is a standard that specifies how type definitions and specific values of types are represented in computer memory. The CTS also defines the guidelines that ensure that the data type of objects written in different languages are able to interact with each other.
It is meant to permit programs written in several programming languages to easily share information.


Windows Forms (WinForms) is a Graphical User Interface(GUI) class library which is included as a part of Microsoft .NET Framework or Mono Framework, providing a platform to write rich client applications for desktop, laptop, and tablet PCs. While it seems like a replacement for the earlier and more complicated C++ based Microsoft Foundation Class Library, it does not offer a comparable paradigm and work as a platform for the user interface tier in a multitier solution.


ASP.NET is a web framework developed and designed by Microsoft which is used to develop websites, web apps, and web services. It is a server-side technology that enables computer code to be executed by an Internet server. It provides an extraordinarily good integration of HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. It was first released in starting of 2002.


ADO.NET is a module of .Net Framework that is used to establish a connection between application and data sources. Data sources such as MySQL, SQL Server, and XML. ADO .NET consists of classes that can be used to insert, connect, retrieve, and delete data.

Versions of .NET
Introduction to .NET Framework
Image Source: Wikipedia

The first version 1.0 was released in 2002. The development tool used at that time was Visual studio .NET. The latest version of .net Framework is 4.8 which was released in April 2019 and the development tool used now is Visual Studio 2019 16.3.

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