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Glossary


Term
Definition
.NET Framework
The .NET Framework is a component of the Windows operating system that provides the programming model for building, deploying and running Web-based applications, smart client applications and Web services. The .NET Framework consists of the common language runtime (CLR) and a unified class library.
Active Directory
The Windows directory service that provides a unified, hierarchical view of complex networks.
ADO.NET
The suite of data access technologies included in the .NET Framework class libraries
ASP.NET
The development component for building server-based Web applications. An evolution of ASP into the .NET Framework.
Assembly
The primary building block—also the unit of deployment and versioning—of a .NET Framework application. An assembly includes an assembly manifest, which describes the contents of the assembly
C#
A new ECMA-approved programming language designed for the .NET Framework. C#, which is an evolution of C and C++, is type safe and object oriented. Because it is compiled as managed code, it benefits from the services of the common language runtime, such as language interoperability, enhanced security, and garbage collection.
Class Library, .NET Framework
A library of classes, interfaces, and value types that are included in the Microsoft .NET Framework and can be used from any CLS-compliant language. The .NET Framework class library provides access to system functionality and is designed to be the foundation on which .NET Framework applications, components, and controls are built.
Common Language Runtime (CLR)
The engine at the core of .NET Framework-managed code execution. The runtime supplies managed code with services such as cross-language integration, code access security, object lifetime management, and debugging and profiling support.
Common Language Specification (CLS)
A subset of .NET Framework features that are supported by a broad set of compliant languages and tools. CLS-compliant languages and tools are guaranteed to interoperate with other CLS-compliant languages and tools.
ECMA
A European standards body created in 1961. Internationally accredited ECMA has fast-track approval for ISO and is the forum for successful standards such as ECMAScript.
Evidence-Based Security
The .NET Framework introduces the concept of evidence-based security, referring to inputs to the security policy about code—such as from what site, security zone, or URL was an assembly obtained, what is its strong name, and whether it has a digital signature and from whom. Based on these and other answers—which can come from multiple sources depending on where the code is run—the appropriate security policy can be applied, and the appropriate permissions may be granted to the assembly..
Extensible Markup Language (XML)
A subset of Standard Generalized Markup Language (SGML) that is optimized for delivery over the Web. XML provides a uniform method for describing and exchanging structured data that is independent of applications or vendors.
Garbage Collection (GC)
The process of transitively tracing through all pointers to actively used objects to locate all objects that can be referenced and then arranging to reuse any heap memory that was not found during this trace. The CLR garbage collector also compacts the memory that is in use to reduce the working space needed for the heap.
HTTP
Hyper Text Transfer Protocol is a standard Internet protocol for transfer of information between servers and between clients and servers.
IDL
Interface Definition Language. A language used by applications to specify the various interfaces they intend to offer to other applications.
Microsoft intermediate language (MSIL)
A language used as the output of a number of compilers and as the input to a just-in-time (JIT) compiler, which produces native code. MSL defines an abstract, stack-based execution model.
JIT
An acronym for "just-in-time", a phrase that describes an action that is taken only when it becomes necessary, such as just-in-time compilation or just-in-time object activation.
Loosely Coupled Architecture
A distributed application in which you can change the implementation of one tier without affecting any of the other tiers. Contrast tightly coupled architecture.
Managed Code
Managed code supplies the metadata necessary for the CLR to provide services, such as memory management, cross-language integration, code access security, and automatic lifetime control of objects. All code based on MSIL executes as managed code.
Manifest
An integral part of every assembly that renders the assembly self-describing via metadata. The metadata describes which modules and resource files are part of a particular assembly, which types are exported, and which other assemblies are referenced. It also specifies which security permissions are required to run, what additional permissions are optionally requested, and what permissions the assembly refuses.
Metadata
Data (or information) about data. Many different systems use metadata—for example, type libraries in COM provide metadata and databases have schemas. In the CLR, metadata is used to describe assemblies and types. It is stored with them in the executable files, and is used by compilers, tools, and the runtime to provide a wide range of services. Metadata is essential for runtime type information and dynamic method invocation.
Native Code
Code that has been compiled to processor-specific machine code.
n-tier
System architecture that separates presentation, business logic, data access, and database (or other persistence mechanism) tiers.
Reflection
.NET Framework technology that allows you to examine metadata that describes types and their members. Reflection can be used to create, invoke, and access type instances at run time.
Serviced Component
The mechanism that enables COM+ services to be available to .NET Framework classes.
Side-by-Side Execution
The ability to run multiple versions of the same assembly simultaneously. This can be on the same computer or in the same process or application domain. Allowing assemblies to run side-by-side is essential to support robust versioning in the common language runtime. Side-by-side is also used to describe to describe two versions of the .NET Framework running simultaneously on the same computer.
SOAP
Simple Object Access Protocol, a W3C standard. A lightweight protocol for exchange of information in a decentralized, distributed environment. It is an XML-based protocol for exchanging structured and type information on the Web. The SOAP protocol contains no application or transport semantics, which makes it highly modular and extensible.
Tightly Coupled Architecture
A distributed application where a change to any tier affects some or all the other remaining tiers. Contrast loosely coupled architecture.
UDDI
Universal Description, Discovery, and Integration (UDDI) specification. An initiative that creates a global, platform-independent, open framework to enable Web service providers to advertise the existence of their Web services and for Web service consumers to locate Web services of interest.
Unmanaged Code
Code that was created without knowledge for the conventions and requirements of the .NET Framework. Unmanaged code executes in the .NET Framework environment with minimal services (for example, no garbage collection, limited debugging, and no declarative security).
Web forms
The ASP.NET page framework, which supports server-side controls that render HTML user interface on Web browsers.
Web services
A programming model that provides the ability to exchange messages in a scalable, loosely coupled, and platform-neutral environment using standard protocols such as HTTP, XML, XSD, SOAP, and WSDL. The SOAP-based XML messages exchanged between a Web service and its clients can be structured and typed, or loosely defined. The flexibility of using a text format such as XML enables the message exchange to evolve over time in a loosely coupled way. Because they are based on standard protocols and are platform neutral, Web services enable communication with a broad variety of implementations, platforms, and devices.
Web Services Description Language (WSDL)
An XML-based contract language for describing network services offered by a server.
Windows Forms
A rich Windows client library that encapsulates native Win32 APIs and exposes secure, managed classes for creating smart Windows client applications. The Windows Forms class library provides many controls, such as buttons, check boxes, drop-down lists, combo boxes, data grid, and others, that encapsulate user-interface and other client-side functionality.
Windows Management Instrumentation (WMI)
A component of the Windows operating system that provides management information and control in an enterprise environment using industry-wide standards.
WSDL
(see Web Services Description Language)
XML
(see Extensible Markup Language).
XML Schema Definition (XSD)
A W3C Recommendation that specifies how to formally describe the elements of an XML document. The schema can be used to verify the conformance of elements in an XML document.

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