The History of the BCL

In the original version of the .NET Framework, nearly all the libraries that shipped with it were collectively known as the Base Class Library. It covered essentials like collection types, text manipulation, arithmetic functions, reflection, I/O functionality, and so on. Notable exceptions are Windows Forms and ASP.NET libraries, which can stand on their own, leveraging the core functionality provided in the class libraries underneath. In fact, for a while in the early betas of the 1.0 release, ASP.NET (originally called ASP+) shipped as a separate installer. In .NET 2.0, this picture didn’t change much. Functionality of various libraries was extended—with generics being a core improvement to the runtime—but no giant new ...

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