.NET is a virtual machine that turns intermediate language (IL) into machine code. High-level language compilers for C#, VB.NET, and C++ are provided to turn source code into IL. C#is a new programming language, very similar to Java. An extensive class library is included, featuring all the functionality one might expect from a contemporary development platform – windows GUI development (Windows Forms), database access (ADO.NET), web
development (ASP.NET), web services and XML among others.
There are a number of tools that can be applied to develop .NET applications. They include:
- The .NET Framework SDK is free and includes command-line compilers for C++, C#,
and VB.NET and various other utilities to aid development.
- SharpDevelop is a free IDE for C# and VB.NET.
- Microsoft Visual Studio Express editions are cut-down versions of Visual Studio, for hobbyist or novice developers. There are different versions for C#, VB, web development etc.
- Microsoft Visual Studio Standard 2005
- Microsoft Visual Studio Professional 2005
- Microsoft Visual Studio Team Edition for Software Developers 2005 with MSDN Premium and Team Suite editions.
.NET Framework runtime supports Windows Server 2003, Windows XP, Windows 2000, NT4 SP6aand Windows ME/98. Windows 95 is not supported. Some parts of the framework does not work on all platforms – for example, ASP.NET is only supported on XP and Windows2000/2003. Windows 98/ME cannot be used for development. IIS is not supported on Windows XP Home Edition, and so cannot be used to host ASP.NET. However, the ASP.NET Web Matrix web server does run on XP Home. The .NET Compact Framework is a version of the .NET Framework for mobile devices, running Windows CE or Windows Mobile.The Mono project has a version of the .NET Framework that runs on Linux.