|Visual C# Tutorials|
|.NET Framework Tutorials|
|© 2006 David Chappell|
|This tutorial—Introducing .NET—is from Understanding .NET, 2nd edition, by David Chappell. Copyright © 2006 David Chappell. All rights reserved. This article is reproduced by permission. This tutorial has been edited especially for C# Online.NET. Read the book review!|
|The .NET Framework and Visual Studio are the main components of .NET|
What’s required to create good software? While it’s possible to write first-rate code in almost any environment, creating good software is much easier when the right platform and tools are available. For most Windows developers today, that platform is defined by .NET. While defining .NET clearly was once a challenge, it’s now clear that the .NET label refers primarily to two things. They are:
* The .NET Framework, which consists of the Common Language Runtime (CLR) and the .NET Framework class library. The CLR provides a standard foundation for building applications, while the .NET Framework class library offers a large set of standard classes and other types that can be used by any .NET Framework application written in any language.
* Visual Studio, an integrated development environment (IDE) for creating Windows applications. While this tool can be used to build software that runs directly on Windows, its main focus is helping developers create .NET Framework applications. Visual Studio supports several programming languages for creating these applications, including C#1, Visual Basic (VB), and C++.
Various versions exist for both of these technologies. The versions described in this book are those released by Microsoft in late 2005: version 2.0 of the .NET Framework and Visual Studio 2005.
| ■ Perspective: .NET’s Naming Journey
It makes sense today to think of the name ".NET" as primarily referring to the .NET Framework and Visual Studio. Things weren’t always so simple, however. When .NET was first announced in the summer of 2000, Microsoft applied the term to a broad range of things. Today’s .NET technologies were included, of course, but so were several other things. Many of Microsoft’s server products, including SQL Server and BizTalk Server, were grouped together as the .NET Enterprise Servers, for example, and a wholly separate effort eventually known as .NET My Services was launched. There was even talk about a possible Windows .NET and Office .NET sometime in the future.
But was there a common technical underpinning for all of these things? Sadly, the answer was no. When Microsoft first sprang .NET on the world, it treated the term as a broad brand, one that could be applied to pretty much anything the company was doing. The result was a good deal of confusion among Microsoft’s customers.
Thankfully, the story has gotten much simpler. The .NET Enterprise Servers are now considered part of the Windows Server System, and so they’ve lost the .NET tag. .NET My Services faded from the scene, while the branding boffins in Redmond decided against tacking the .NET brand onto either Windows or Office. Today, when somebody says ".NET," they’re referring to the .NET Framework and Visual Studio.