Net Framework is a software framework developed by Microsoft, which has as main objectives to support and build the future generation of apps and XML Web services. The framework is compatible only with the machines that run a Microsoft Windows OS, and comes with a class library, plus a CLR (common language runtime).
The library is important because it offers more than 4500 classes with a rich functionality including: data access, XML, image generation, file upload, SMTP, and much more. For the UI, there are the ASP.NET web forms, which support a variety of server controls, business objects, and the ASP.NET Mobile Internet Toolkit – which aims mobile phones, PDAs and other 80 mobile devices, etc.
On the other hand, the CLR is considered to be “the foundation of the.Net framework”, capable of providing services such as: memory and thread management, remoting and security. As a concept, the CLR is similar to a virtual machine which looks after the execution of programs.
Being a real object oriented (OOP) framework, .NET offers improved code management and a clean code structure. It also produces faster web applications using optimized compiled code, in comparison to other language, which runs as interpreted code. Also, many project managers find the partition between code and markup (between logic and design) to be very effective and to allow a more organized and efficient work inside a team.
Another big plus that the.NET framework brings is that it supports more than 25 mainstream coding languages, such as: Visual Basic.Net, C++, C#, JScript and others. In this way, the developer can choose to work on a language, and at the same time to have access to top features from another supported language.
Being developed on the Microsoft platform,.Net offers access to updated documentation, dependable customer support from Microsoft, through the MSDN service, innovative features and secured applications, thanks to the Windows built-in authentication. Meant as a propeller for dynamic web sites, web services and web applications, the.NET framework offers developers rich, easy to use and reliable web tools.
The latest version of the.NET framework, 4.0 was released on March, 2010, and comes with powerful new features, such as the 2010 version of Visual Studio and new functionalities regarding the Microsoft Ajax Library. In the same time it improves the existing services, including the output caching and session-state storage.
With the release of.NET framework 3.5 (released on November 19, 2007),.Net brought about a new advantage: the LINQ (Language Integrated Query) functionality, which permits the work with queries over collections, and over almost any type of data. For programmers, this translates into easy to write, expressive code. The most important updates or new features brought about by the 3.5 version are presented below:
.Net Compact Framework Is an updated feature which allows programmers to develop content for Pocket PCs (PDAs) or smartphones. The 3.5 version extends the support for mobile applications by including: LINQ (Language Integrated Query), WCF (Windows Communication Foundation), debugging improvements, enhanced class library documentation, improved SoundPlayer by adding multiple sounds, improved logging features…etc.
The 2.0 version of the Common Language Runtime, which comes with.NET 3.5, has the following features updated: performance improvements, Garbage collection, Time Zone enhancements, JIT compiler optimizations…etc.
3.5 brings in the “peer to peer networking” which is a technology that permits more machines to share the same resources and to communicate directly with one another. Also, the Socket class has been improved to allow to be used by apps that employ asynchronous network, for an improved performance.
Windows Presentation Foundation includes enhancements in the following areas: data binding, annotations, 3D user interface elements, versioning, and more. This feature will be detailed in the following section.