What Is .NET? Microsoft .NET is a set of software technologies for connecting information, people, systems, and devices. This new generation of technology is based on Web services—small building-block applications that can connect to each other as well as to other, larger applications over the Internet.
Application programmers have so many reasons to use .NET. Just about every common task that Windows and Web programmers perform today is easier to code, test, deploy, and maintain using .NET.
True interoperation now exists among all .NET languages (Visual Basic, C++, C#, COBOL, and many others) because .NET unifies the services and functions that those languages offer, the task of integrating code from several programmers writing in different languages is almost trivial. The .NET development environment pulls all the languages that programmers use into one easy-to-use but extremely powerful tool that includes the ability to debug code no matter where it runs. After years of sometimes widely divergent ideas about how programmers should write code, Microsoft has constructed an environment that lets programmers concentrate on writing programs and not on technology or syntax idiosyncrasies.
Each .NET compatible language has its own set of constructs which work best within the context of that language, while using the CLR.The key to these developments is the Common Language Runtime (CLR). Because the .NET languages provide code for one common, abstracted environment, programmers have the same functionality available no matter what language they use — no longer must they endure different sets of rules for C++ and Visual Basic. The CLR is the intermediate layer that translates CLR function calls into function calls that the host OS supports. If you’re worried that .NET languages and CLR sound like some sort of old-style interpreted language (e.g., Pascal or earlier versions of Visual Basic), you can relax.