If you’re a habitual user of the Microsoft Windows operating system, there’s a relatively good
chance that you’ve been prompted to install something called “.NET framework.” Pronounced
“dot-net,” this framework is most commonly used for Windows. In this blog, we’ll go over what a
software framework is and is for, as well as examine what makes .NET stand out.
What a Software Framework Is
In software programming, it is much easier to build code based on something that is already
written than it is to write something from scratch. A framework is a collected abstraction of
editable code that can be used to make software for a specific application. A framework is
essentially a collection of APIs, or Application Programming Interfaces.
An abstraction can be loosely defined as the process of removing pieces and elements of
something to condense it into its most basic version. When applied to software, an abstraction
provides developers with a kind of blank canvas to work on.
The .NET framework makes a library (called the Framework Class Library, or FCL) available to
developers to utilize. The FCL holds tens of thousands of shared code examples, all ready to be
used to build software much more easily. Another benefit of .NET framework software is that it
results in a standardization between software’s built through .NET.
.NET also provides a runtime environment for applications created using it, allowing developers
to virtually test their creations. While development platforms frequently feature runtime
environments, .NET’s is different in that its Common Language Runtime (CLR) environment
offers developers increased functionality. In addition to providing a sandbox environment to test
applications, developers are also able to create software with confidence in its security, manage
memory and processor threads, and handle program exceptions.
These features add quite a bit of benefit to software titles created through the .NET framework,
especially where portability is concerned. Allowing freedom to developers in choosing a
programming language to base their applications on, including those that aren’t usually run on
hardware systems, the CLR makes it so that code can be run on any hardware system, as long
as the .NET framework is also installed. This has the added benefit of allowing a developer
within an organization to code in whatever language they prefer. This ability to code comfortably
provides no small benefit to an organization, as developers are more able to create a superior
software, often for a reduced cost than otherwise.
Like any other computing platform, there have been multiple versions of .NET framework, the
newest being made backward-compatible. While this allowed older software to be changed,
other titles simply wouldn’t function. This created no small problems for both independent
developers and organizations. As a result, older Windows operating systems will have
numerous versions of .NET framework installed.
If you have a newer system that doesn’t have the framework installed on it, you can anticipate
that it will show up soon enough. There are three ways that it can be introduced to your system:
- It is included with Windows OS.
- An application requires a version of .NET to run and prompts the user to install it.
- A piece of software directs the user to a website to download a compatible version of the
Fortunately, even software that was designed on past versions of .NET will continue to work
with the Windows 10 version.
Software development is huge, which only makes sense when you consider how much of our
day-to-day life now relies on software of some kind. To learn more about the technology that
you use every day, reach out to us, or keep checking back here on our