Top 5 Things You Should Know about .Net Framework
.NET is a framework developed specifically for Windows by Microsoft in 2002. It is widely used and has quite a long history. For being 18 years on the development market, .NET framework hasn’t lost its popularity. According to Stack Overflow Developer Survey, .NET is ranked the 2nd most popular framework to study.
In this article, we’ve gathered the most essential things you need to know about .NET Framework:
- What is .NET Framework?
- What development tools does .NET Framework have?
- What are the different .NET Framework release versions?
- What is the latest .NET framework?
What is .NET Framework?
.NET Framework is a programming platform that runs on Windows and helps software developers create various digital solutions more easily.
.NET Framework consists of The Common Language Runtime (CLR) that manages program execution written in different languages and The Framework Class Library (FCL) a set of standardized types needed to run .NET apps. They both create an environment where different programming languages can interact natively representing a unified system.
.NET Framework development tools
.NET Framework supports various tools, platforms, and programming languages based upon CLR and FCL to develop different kinds of software. Let’s have a closer look at some of them and how they can facilitate software development.
C# and Visual Basic.NET
C# (Sharp) and Visual Basic.NET (VB) are the programming languages developed by Microsoft and introduced to .NET Framework. Both are used to build a variety of apps, starting from web ending to desktop apps.
C# is an object-oriented language that has much in common with C++ and Java. It was created especially for the purposes of the .NET platform and considered to be a powerful solution for building any type of apps. With C# software developers can build rather complex though flexible and scalable applications.
VB.NET is an object-oriented language launched in 2002 on the .NET platform. It has a long development history as it derives from the original Visual Basic that dates back to 1991. This language isn’t as popular as C#, however, its functionality is as rich as C# and Java’s. This language is used to build simple command-line tools, graphical user interfaces, game apps, and large scale web apps.
ASP.NET is an open-source back-end web-application development platform that’s used to create dynamic web sites, web apps, and web services. It supports a wide range of programming models that allow building different web solutions. For example:
- ASP.NET WebForms is a framework used for the rapid development of web applications.
- ASP.NET MVC is used for building web pages based on the Model-View-Controller (MVC) design pattern. It allows better code separation between UI and app code. ASP.NET MVC helps software engineers to easier perform unit tests and conduct Test-Driven Development (TDD). Therefore, this development model ensures code security and its better management.
- ASP.NET Web Pages represents a lightweight platform that helps to create dynamic websites based on C# and Visual Basic.
- ASP.NET Web API speaks for itself. It’s used for building Web APIs.
- ASP.NET WebHooks is used for connecting Web APIs and SaaS services.
- SignalR helps to facilitate communication between a client and a server in either direction.
ASP.NET is not limited only to the tools above and can use additional extensions that greatly help software developers build web solutions.
Xamarin is an open-source platform that adds .NET framework some extra libraries and tools which help to build cross-platform mobile apps. These apps run on iOS, Android, macOS, and Windows operating systems, and their code can be shared by 90% across app platforms.
Moreover, on the Xamarin platform, software developers can write all of their apps’ business logic using just one programming language like C# and reuse some parts of the app code. Implementation of all these features allows developing efficient and robust apps with a native-like look and performance.
Xamarin extends .NET with the following features:
- Extensible Markup Language (XAML) used for the development of dynamic mobile apps based on C#;
- type checking features that help software developers to minimize the number of code errors;
- Portable class libraries (PCL) that replicate an app’s C# code for future use;
- libraries for the most popular design patterns like Model View ViewModel (MVVM), Model View Controller (MVC), and others.
- libraries with APIs access from Facebook, Apple, Google, and others.
With ADO.NET software engineers can easily access and manage data from a database or other data sources. For example, ADO.NET works with:
- Microsoft SQL Server
- Microsoft Access
- Microsoft Excel
- Microsoft Outlook
- Microsoft Exchange
- OLE DB
- Text files, and others.
ADO.NET unifies similar data types that were retrieved from different data sources. Therefore, software engineers don’t need to spend hours studying different database functionalities, getting data in a standardized format. This technology significantly automates data retrieval and speeds up data management processes.
WinForms or Windows Forms is a graphical user interface (GUI) provided as a part of .NET Framework. It is an open-source project that can be found on GitHub. With its help software engineers can wrap app components into a comprehensible for a user shell. WinForms allows creating client apps for desktop, laptop, or tablets.
Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF) is another user interface (UI) framework that helps to create desktop client apps. WPF provides a wider choice of different skins or themes for its apps and fully supports data binding. Fully supported data binding means better data synchronization between layouts and data sources.
Windows Communication Foundation (WCF) is a framework that allows building connected, service-oriented apps. It means that WCF users can send data in the form of asynchronous messages from one service endpoint to another. A service endpoint is a URL address at which a client can gain their access to a specific service.
WCF makes it possible to:
- secure business transactions;
- monitor services and data traffic;
- gather data from different services and represent it in a logical order in an app, and much more.
What Are the Different Types of .Net Framework Release Versions?
There are several versions of .NET Framework. Each has its own set of tools, libraries, and technical capabilities.
- .NET Framework 2.0 represents the basic layer for the subsequent .NET Frameworks. It includes CLR, FCL, WinForms, ASP.NET, ADO.NET features.
- In .NET Framework 3.0 release, software developers focused mainly on the framework’s functionality and added WPF, WCF WF and CardSpace features to 2.0.
- .NET Framework 3.5 there were added LINQ and Entity Framework features that enhanced data query and management.
- .NET Framework 4.0 got Parallel LINQ and Task Parallel Library that allowed making parallel queries. Besides that, this framework is highly compatible with the apps built with the previous framework versions and has improved security and compliance standards, reliability, and correctness.
- .NET Framework 5 added /NET APIs for Store/UWP apps and Task-Based Async Model. It means that this framework suits for building Windows Store apps and makes asynchronous functions intuitive and clear.
Currently, devoted followers of .NET are eagerly expecting the release of .NET 5 that will support Windows, Linux, macOS, iOS, Android, tvOS, watchOS, WebAssembly, and other platforms.
What to Expect From .NET 5 in the Nearest Feature?
.NET Frameworks are expecting a major change in November 2020 with the release of .NET 5. Many .NET developers wonder what’s going to happen to .NET Framework when .NET 5 will be released.
.NET 5 is expected to become a unified platform that will absorb the best features of .NET Framework and .NET Core. Besides that, .NET 5 will provide software developers with the IoT, mobile, and gaming console development features. As a result, .NET 5 will support Java’s strategy ‘Written once run everywhere’, eliminating the necessity to write code for each platform separately.
.NET 5 will get some more upgrades, including:
- EF 6 will be replaced by Entity Framework Core. Entity Framework Core will have new features such as LINQ queries support, schema migrations, SQL Server and SQL Azure, SQLite, Azure Cosmos DB, MySQL, PostgreSQL database support, and others.
- ASP.NET will be replaced by ASP.NET Core. It will facilitate building cloud-based web apps on Windows, macOS, and Linux.
- ASP.NET Core MVC will unify ASP.NET MVC and Web API. It’ll be optimized for ASP.NET Core use. This technology allows building dynamic websites with TDD-friendly development and the use of the latest web standards.
- MSIX will replace MSI package installer to provide a modern packaging experience for all apps that run on Windows.
- The JsonDocument API part will be replaced by the System.Text.Json.JsonDocument that provides a wider range of APIs.
- Blazor in ASP.NET for the creation of interactive web user interfaces that run on C#.
- Xamarin extends for building apps on iOS, Android, macOS, and much more.
- ML.NET a library used for Machine learning that runs on C#, F#, and Python programming languages.
The upcoming .NET 5 will comprise all the necessary libraries, APIs, and tools for a full-fledged open-source and cross-platform software building. It opens a new era for .NET growth, stepping away from aging Windows-only to modern and promising open-source development.
The .NET platform has been evolving together with technological progress for more than 18 years already. All this time it has been providing its users with top-notch tools for building robust and effective software solutions. Therefore, .NET represents a secure and well-designed tool for building any kind of apps.
If you decide to build your software using the .NET platform, it’s important to find the right .NET development company that can professionally use diverse .NET development tools and will be ready to provide you with the best software solution.