Tuesday, October 05, 2004

What .NET is all about?

It’s a new Object Oriented Paradigm from Microsoft.

.NETwas released in July 2000 in a PDC (Professional Developers Conference) Orlando Florida, where Bill Gates revealed the details of their new platform called NGWS (Next Generation Windows Services).

What is .NET?

*  It is a framework, which offers new Object Oriented programming paradigm.
*  Is a layer between the operating system and the programming language
*  It supports many programming languages, including VB.NET, C# , C++ .NETetc.
*  .NET provides a common set of class libraries, which can be accessed from any .net based programming language. The language does not matter, you can write code in any .net language!!

What .NET is Not?

*  .NET is not an operating system.
*  .NET is not a programming language.

".NET is a framework"

.NET is a common Language Neutral platform for all the supported languages known as .NET compliant language. It gives a common class library known as Base Class Library (BCL) or Framework Class Library (FCL), which can be called from any of the .NET supported languages. So, developers need not to learn many libraries when they switch to a different language like earlier MFC, ATL and Win32 API etc. Microsoft .NET offers common Library (BCL) and only the syntax is different for each language, where as all the languages can share the same features.

When you write code in any language and compile, it will be converted to an 'Intermediate Language - IL or MicroSoft Intermediate Language - MSIL. So, the compiled executable contains the IL and not really executable machine language. When the .Net application runs, the JIT (Just In-Time) compiler of .NET framework on the target computer take care of the execution. Note: To run a .NET application, the target computer should have .NET framework installed.

What is Visual Studio .NET?

Visual Studio is not a new concept it has been around for many years, Visual Studio 6.0 is a development tool which has fascinated almost every programmer on the planet earth.

Visual Studio .NET is just another version of Visual Studio designed to write .NET applications. VS.NET is not a must to write .NET application. Notepad can be used to write an application and can be compiled by using .NET command line compilers (Csc/Vbc) which are freely available with .NET Framework SDK, after compilation result can be seen on console.

.NET supported languages

Currently .NET supports the following languages:
*  C#
*  Managed C++ .NET
*  J#
*  Jscript .NET

The above languages are known as Microsoft .NET compliant languages. Whereas Many third parties are writing compilers for other languages with .NET support for example COBOl, Pearl, Python etc.

Difference between VB and VB.NET

There is not much in common between VB and VB .NET other than the base name. VB.NET is a totally new programming language. It just retains the syntax of old VB. So, if you are a VB programmer, probably you may like VB .NET than C# just because of the syntax and case sensitive nature.

In addition to this, VB .NET still supports many of the old VB functions just for backward compatibility. Microsoft .NET also provides Upgrade Wizard to migrate VB 6.0 applications to VB .NET.

C# or VB.NET? Which one to choose?

It’s very difficult to state which one to choose, the choice actually depends on an individual’s choice and programming experience.Where as in reality .NET Framework itself has no discrimination between the languages.

VB .NET has backward compatibility with old Visual basic VB 6.0. and C# is a fresh, clean language.

Is .NET platform independent?

No, but it is Language Independent. Microsoft wrote .NET Framework with a vision of Language Independence to be offered to all the programming languages. I.e. all the languages can communicate means interoperable.

As .NET has attracted many programmers from different technical planets, are taking advantage of .NET, Linux has .Net implementation named mono, which met ECMA (European Computer Manufacturers Association) standard what C# is based on.

Future of .NET

As it is an awesome programming paradigm which offers all the features of a language and easy access to OS and machine resources. Many programmers are taking advantage of this new product of Microsoft and shipping their software codes with an increased productivity and ease.

Microsoft is moving all its technologies to be .NET based or .NET related. The next version of SQL Server (code named - Yukon) even supports writing stored procedures in .NET languages. The .NET runtime will be part of all Operating Systems by default. Like already it has been shipped with Windows 2003. There are some other great .NET products about to ship, code named Whidbey (Visual Studio .NET 2005), Longhorn and Orcas (Visual Studio .NET for Longhorn).


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  2. Really this article is very helpful and explained in an interesting way.Great article for beginners who are willing to learn about .NET