The .NET Framework is a revolutionary platform created by Microsoft for developing applications. The .NET Framework allows the creation of Windows applications, Web applications, Web Services, and pretty much anything else you can think of.
The .NET Framework is composed mainly of three parts:
- An extensible set of development languages including C# and VB.NET, which must respect a specification named CLS (Common Language Specification). The base types used by these languages must also respect a specification names CTS (Common Type System).
- BCL (Base Class Library) - A set of base classes usable from programs developed in these languages.
- A software layer respecting a specification named CLI (Common Language Infrastructure), which is responsible for the execution of .NET applications and knows only one language named IL (Intermediate Language). The CLI is responsible for the compilation of IL code into machine code during execution of an application. Consequently, the languages supported by .NET must have a compiler which will produce IL code. Microsoft’s implementation of the CLI is named CLR (Common Language Runtime).