What is .NET Framework? Complete Architecture Tutorial

What is Microsoft .Net Framework?

The .Net framework is a software development platform developed by Microsoft. The framework was meant to create applications, which would run on the Windows Platform. The first version of the .Net framework was released in the year 2002.

The version was called .Net framework 1.0. The .Net framework has come a long way since then, and the current version is 4.7.1.

The .Net framework can be used to create both — Form-based andWeb-based applications. Web services can also be developed using the .Net framework.

The framework also supports various programming languages such as Visual Basic and C#. So developers can choose and select the language to develop the required application. In this chapter, you will learn some basics of the .Net framework.

In this tutorial, you will learn-

.Net Framework Architecture

The basic architecture of the .Net framework is as shown below.

What is .NET Framework
.net framework architecture diagram

.NET Components

The architecture of the .Net framework is based on the following key components;

1. Common Language Runtime

The «Common Language Infrastructure» or CLI is a platform on which the .Net programs are executed.

The CLI has the following key features:

  • Exception Handling — Exceptions are errors which occur when the application is executed.Examples of exceptions are:
    • If an application tries to open a file on the local machine, but the file is not present.
    • If the application tries to fetch some records from a database, but the connection to the database is not valid.
  • Garbage Collection — Garbage collection is the process of removing unwanted resources when they are no longer required.Examples of garbage collection are
    • A File handle which is no longer required. If the application has finished all operations on a file, then the file handle may no longer be required.
    • The database connection is no longer required. If the application has finished all operations on a database, then the database connection may no longer be required.
  • Working with Various programming languages –

As noted in an earlier section, a developer can develop an application in a variety of .Net programming languages.

  1. Language — The first level is the programming language itself, the most common ones are VB.Net and C#.
  2. Compiler – There is a compiler which will be separate for each programming language. So underlying the VB.Net language, there will be a separate VB.Net compiler. Similarly, for C#, you will have another compiler.
  3. Common Language Interpreter – This is the final layer in .Net which would be used to run a .net program developed in any programming language. So the subsequent compiler will send the program to the CLI layer to run the .Net application.


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