Visual C#.NET, Part 1: Introduction to Programming Languages
Learn today what you need to get started with Visual C#.NET. We'll be taking a look at the .NET Platform, the .NET Framework, as well as a quick look at Visual Studio.NET. We'll also take a brief look at the history of programming languages, including machine code, assembly language, as well as high-level languages, such as C#. This is the first chapter of Michael Youssef's book Visual C#.NET (The Absolute Power), printed here with the permission of the author.
Visual C#.NET, Part 1: Introduction to Programming Languages - .NET Framework Central Components (Page 5 of 6 )
.NET Framework Class Library (FCL)
For now think of this as the programming functionality and capability that we will use to develop our applications. In our random number generator we use a function to perform the number generating. This function is part of the Class Library. Also, as a note, you can develop Windows applications, Web applications, network applications, and more using this one common library.
NOTEWe haven't studied the concept of classes yet, so don't worry if you find yourself confused. Just understand that the FCL contains the programming functions that you will use to develop applications using .NET.
.NET Common Language Runtime (CLR)
This is a major part of the .NET Framework, but before we know what its role in .NET is, we must understand what Runtime means.
Runtime is the time when you execute your program, meaning the time when your program is running in memory. As its name implies it is the language responsible for running and executing .NET applications, as well as managing memory. Before .NET memory management was the programmer's responsibility and, believe me, it was one of the worst nightmares for programmers. Now with .NET, the CLR will manage memory, which will result in improved applications performance and stability.
NOTEBecause this book focuses on C#, and not the .NET Framework, we will not discuss the Framework much longer. If you need more information about the .NET Framework there are many books available as well as the MSDN resources offered by Microsoft. When you finish the book you can read Appendix: A -- "About Microsoft.NET" -- as it will provide you with background information on .NET.