The Microsoft .NET Framework is a software component which can be added to the Microsoft Windows operating system.
The Microsoft .NET Framework is a software component which can be added to the Microsoft Windows operating system. It provides a large body of pre-coded solutions to common program requirements, and manages the execution of programs written specifically for the framework. The .NET Framework is a key Microsoft offering, and is intended to be used by most new applications created for the Windows platform. The pre-coded solutions in the namespaces form the framework's class library and cover a large range of programming needs in areas including the user interface, data access, cryptography, web application development, numeric algorithms, and network communications.
The functions of the class library are used by programmers who combine them with their own code to produce applications.
Programs written for the .NET Framework execute in a software environment that manages the program's runtime requirements. This runtime environment, which is also a part of the .NET Framework, is known as the Common Language Runtime (CLR). The CLR provides the appearance of an application virtual machine, so that programmers need not consider the capabilities of the specific CPU that will execute the program. The CLR also provides other important services such as security mechanisms, memory management, and exception handling. The class library and the CLR together compose the .NET Framework. The framework is intended to make it easier to develop computer applications and to reduce the vulnerability of applications and computers to security threats.
The Microsoft .NET Framework 4 provides the following new features and improvements:
* Improvements in Common Language Runtime (CLR) and Base Class Library (BCL)
o Performance improvement including better multicore support, background garbage collection, and profiler attach on server.
o New memory mapped file and numeric types.
o Easier debugging including dump debugging, Watson minidumps, mixed mode debugging for 64 bit and code contracts.
o For a comprehensive list of enhancements to CLR and BCL go here.
* Innovations in the Visual Basic and C# languages, for example statement lambdas, implicit line continuations, dynamic dispatch, and named/optional parameters.
* Improvements in Data Access and Modeling
o The Entity Framework enables developers to program against relational databases using .NET objects and Language Integrated Query (LINQ). It has many new features, including persistence ignorance and POCO support, foreign key associations, lazy loading, test-driven development support, functions in the model, and new LINQ operators. Additional features include better n-tier support with self-tracking entities, customizable code generation using T4 templates, model first development, an improved designer experience, better performance, and pluralization of entity sets. For more information go here.
o WCF Data Services is a component of the .NET Framework that enables you to create REST-based services and applications that use the Open Data Protocol (OData) to expose and consume data over the Web. WCF Data Services has many new features, including enhanced BLOB support, data binding, row count, feed customization, projections, and request pipeline improvements. Built-in integration with Microsoft Office 2010 now makes it possible to expose Microsoft Office SharePoint Server data as an OData feed and access that data feed by using the WCF Data Services client library. For more information go here.
* Enhancements to ASP.NET
o More control over HTML, element IDs and custom CSS that make it much easier to create standards-compliant and SEO-friendly web forms.
o New dynamic data features including new query filters, entity templates, richer support for Entity Framework 4, and validation and templating features that can be easily applied to existing web forms.
o Web forms support for new AJAX library improvements including built-in support for content delivery networks (CDNs).
o For a comprehensive list of enhancements to ASP.NET go here.
* Improvements in Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF)
o Added support for Windows 7 multi-touch, ribbon controls, and taskbar extensibility features.
o Added support for Surface 2.0 SDK.
o New line-of-business controls including charting control, smart edit, data grid, and others that improve the experience for developers who build data centric applications.
o Improvements in performance and scalability.
o Visual improvements in text clarity, layout pixel snapping, localization, and interoperability.
o For a comprehensive list of enhancements to WPF go here.
* Improvements to Windows Workflow (WF) that enable developers to better host and interact with workflows. These include an improved activity programming model, an improved designer experience, a new flowchart modeling style, an expanded activity palette, workflow-rules integration, and new message correlation features. The .NET Framework 4 also offers significant performance gains for WF-based workflows. For a comprehensive list of enhancements to WF go here.
* Improvements to Windows Communication Foundation (WCF) such as support for WCF Workflow Services enabling workflow programs with messaging activities, correlation support. Additionally, .NET Framework 4 provides new WCF features such as service discovery, routing service, REST support, diagnostics, and performance. For a comprehensive list of enhancements to WCF go here.
* Innovative new parallel-programming features such as parallel loop support, Task Parallel Library (TPL), Parallel LINQ (PLINQ), and coordination data structures which let developers harness the power of multi-core processors.
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