Chapter 1. The .NET Framework

The .NET Framework is a development framework created by Microsoft to enable developers to build applications that run on Microsoft (and other) platforms. Understanding the basics of the .NET Framework is essential because a large part of C# development revolves around using the classes in that framework.

This chapter explains the key components in the .NET Framework as well as the role played by each of the components. In addition, it examines the relationships among the various versions of the Framework, from version 1.0 to the latest 3.5.

What's the .NET Framework?

The .NET Framework has two components:

  • Common Language Runtime

  • .NET Framework class library

The Common Language Runtime (CLR) is the agent that manages your .NET applications at execution time. It provides core services such as memory, thread, and resource management. Applications that run on top of the CLR are known as managed code; all others are known as unmanaged code.

The .NET Framework class library is a comprehensive set of reusable classes that provides all the functionalities your application needs. This library enables you to develop applications ranging from desktop Windows applications to ASP.NET web applications, and Windows Mobile applications that run on Pocket PCs.

Common Language Runtime

The Common Language Runtime (CLR) is the virtual machine in the .NET Framework. It sits on top of the Windows operating system (Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows Server 2008, and so on). A .NET ...

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