The .NET Platform consists of a set of technologies and tools designed to simplify development of distributed applications, including Windows applications, Windows services, console applications, and Web services. The .NET Platform also helps you to build applications using a collection of Web services and supports the existing Internet infrastructure such as Hyper Text Transfer Protocol (HTTP), Extensible Markup Language (XML), and Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP).
The .NET Platform provides:
• A consistent programming model
• Multi-language support
• Easy migration from existing technologies
Components of .NET Platform
The following are some of the key components of the .NET Platform.
• .NET Framework
• .NET Compact Framework
• Visual Studio .NET
• Visual Studio Tools for the Microsoft Office System (VSTO)
• XML Web services
The foundation of the .NET Framework is based on the CLR. The CLR manages the execution for all .NET-based applications. The CLR provides a common set of services to the applications that you can develop by using any of the .NET compliant languages. A .NET compliant language adheres to a set of common standards defined by the Common Language Specification (CLS). The CLS standards form the basis on which the common type system provides a set of common data types that can be used across all .NET programming languages.
.NET Compact Framework
The .NET Compact Framework is derived from the .NET Framework architecture. The .NET Compact Framework provides a hardware-independent programming environment to devices that have limited system resources such as pocket PCs and mobile phones, and other custom devices with Windows CE .NET operating system.
Microsoft Visual Studio® .NET
Visual Studio .NET provides an integrated development environment (IDE) and key technologies to simplify the creation and deployment of .NET Framework–based applications. The .NET Framework–based applications are Windows-based applications, Web applications, and Web services.
Visual Studio Tools for the Microsoft Office System (VSTO)
With this new technology, you can write managed code for Microsoft Word and Microsoft Excel®, which responds to events within the automation models. While the Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) and COM-based automation will continue to be supported in the .NET Platform, VSTO provides you the complete power of the .NET Framework, including a familiar coding experience that includes F1 Help support, full-featured debugging, and IntelliSense in the Code Editor. You also get full use of managed controls, improved deployment and maintenance of solutions, improved security, and the ability to consume and expose Web services directly from Office programs.
XML Web services
An XML Web service is a software program that can be accessed by applications locally and remotely. One of the primary advantages of the XML Web services architecture is that it permits programs written in different languages and on different platforms to communicate with each other. This multi-language communication uses unified class libraries, intermediate language and the dynamic execution environment of the CLR. An improvement in the XML Web services now is, that the XML Web services work with standard Web protocols—XML, HTTP and TCP/IP. XML Web services use SOAP as their communication protocol. SOAP is a specification that defines the XML format for messages. XML Web services are described with a Web Services Description Language (WSDL) file to allow interoperability between programs, regardless of the language and the platform. A WSDL file is an XML document that describes a set of SOAP messages and how the messages are exchanged