What is .net framework

Before you start learning about the .net framework and various constituents of the framework let’s try to answer the very simple question – What is .net framework?

Simply put the .net framework is a collection of all the technologies, tools and languages which Microsoft has developed over the last around 12-13 years to help software developers build software applications for the desktop, web, mobile, cloud etc. It is not a single entity; it is a bundle of many different things.

Everything is a class or a structure

.net framework follows the rules of object oriented programming. In .net nothing can exist without a class or a structure. So it won’t be wrong to say that the .net framework is a set of classes and structures created by Microsoft to help you write any type of software application you want. There are classes and structures for developing console applications, window applications, web applications, mobile applications etc. Different set of classes are given different names. For example all the classes and structures which are used for developing web applications are together called Asp.net, all classes and structures used for communicating with databases are called ADO.net and so on.

If you want to excel as a software developer keep one thing in mind – everything is a class or a structure

.net framework is called managed framework

The .net framework is also called managed framework. This is because it provides all the high and low level services to help developers write software applications. For example when you use the .net framework to build software applications you do not have to worry about the memory management for your code. Memory allocation and de-allocation is the responsibility of the .net framework. Everything you need to write and execute your code using the .net framework has been provided to you by the framework. Therefore it is also called a managed framework.

Base class library and CLR

The part of the .net framework which helps you in writing software applications is called the base class library. The part of the .net framework which helps you in executing your .net code is called the common language runtime or CLR. You will learn more about both these components in coming tutorials.

The conceptual model of the .net framework

Conceptual model of the .net framework
 
As you can see in this diagram the .net framework sits on top of the operating system. It is a bundle of many different things. The two important parts of the .net framework is the common language runtime and the base class library which you can see sitting directly on top of the operating system.

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