An Introduction to .NET Framework

.Net Framework is a platform or development environment to seamlessly create web-applications that are accessible through client machines from across the globe. These web-applications adopt open standards such as eXtensible Markup Language (XML), HyperText Transfer Protocol (HTTP), and Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP) to interact with applications that are available in other platforms.

.Net Framework is platform independent and language independent. This means that .Net Framework allows you to use different programming languages such as VB.Net, C#, Jscript, VBScript, and Managed C++ and run applications on different platforms such as Unix, Macintosh, and Linux. Moreover, .Net Framework enables you to use various off-the-shelf libraries that help the development of applications faster, easier, and cheaper. .Net Framework now supports over 20 different programming languages.

The reason how .Net Framework supports so many programming languages is well answered by the concept of Common Language Runtime (CLR) engine. The CLR engine, instead of compiling the code into native code, compiles the code into Microsoft Intermediate Language (MSIL). The MSIL, a set of instructions, then translates the code into native code. This concept of CLR is significant in making .Net Framework, platform and language independent. In addition, CLR is responsible for run-time services such as language integration, security enforcement, memory process, and thread management. Thus, .Net Framework provides a wide infrastructure to create web-applications. Microsoft has classified .Net Framework into two categories such as CLR and .Net Framework class library.

Common Language Runtime: The CLR, as mentioned in the above paragraph, provides common runtime services to all .Net applications. In addition, the CLR reduces the developer's time to write lengthy code for using features such as life-cycle management, strong type naming, cross-language exception handling, and dynamic binding to turn business logic into a reusable component.

.Net Framework class library: This class library includes predefined sets of functionality that developers can use in their own applications. The library consists of three key components:

? ASP.NET

? Windows Forms

? ADO.NET

The .Net Framework provides a number of advantages such as fewer lines of code, complete compilation, ease of deployment, web settings and web.config, and caching. By fewer lines of code, we mean that .Net Framework allows developers to use Web controls, thereby spending more time in implementing application design and the general flow of application. Another important part of .Net Framework is that everything including Web controls, Web forms, and server-side blocks of code are compiled when a page is requested for compilation. Ease of deployment refers to the concept that components in .Net Framework can be compiled on your machine and then uploaded with all the pages in the /bin directory. Unlike a web-application in ASP, where pages have to be uploaded and the components of the pages have to be registered with the operating system, the components in a web-application in .Net Framework need not be registered.

Web settings means the configuration of .Net applications that can be accomplished through web.config, an XML based file. Because a web.config file is in XML, it is easy to understand and it is also programmatically modifiable. When a web.config file is modified the machine detects the changes immediately. This enables quick configuration of .Net applications. Caching is the term used to describe the process of collecting commonly accessed data into memory for quick retrieval. .Net Framework support three types of caching: output caching, data caching, and fragment caching.

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