We have been carrying this series on developing in .NET for some time now. For those of you who came in late, here is a recap of what .NET is and how you can program for it. Contrary to general belief, .NET is not a single technology. Rather it is a set of technologies that work together seamlessly to solve your business problems.
Here in this article, we’ll take you through some essentials of .NET.
What type of applications can I develop?
.NET is sometimes mistaken as a technology meant only for the Internet or networked applications. In reality, though, with .NET you can create many other types of applications. Some of them are listed below.
- ASP.NET Web applications: These include dynamic and data-driven browser-based applications
- Windows form-based applications: These refer to traditional rich client applications.
- Console applications: These refer to traditional DOS kind of applications, like batch scripts.
- Component libraries: This refers to components that typically encapsulate some business logic.
- Windows-custom controls: As with traditional ActiveX controls, you can develop your own Windows controls.
- Web-custom controls: The concept of custom controls can be extended to Web applications allowing code reuse and modularization.
- Web services: They are ‘web callable’ functionality available via industry standards like HTTP, XML and SOAP.
- Windows services: They refer to applications that run as services in the background. They can be configured to start automatically when the system boots up.
.NET Framework SDK
As with most programming languages, .NET has a complete SDK (Software Development Kit), more commonly referred to as the .NET Framework SDK. This provides classes, interfaces and language compilers necessary to program for .NET. It also contains documentation and Quick Start tutorials that help you learn .NET technologies.
The .NET Framework SDK is available for free and you can download it from the MSDN website.
So, if your machine has the .NET Framework installed and a text editor (like Notepad), then you can start developing for .NET right now!
If you are developing applications that require a speedy delivery to your customers and features like integration with some version-control software, then Notepad may not serve your purpose. In such cases, you will require an IDE (Integrated Development Environment) that allows for RAD (Rapid Action Development). The new Visual Studio.NET is such an IDE. When you install Visual Studio.NET, .NET Framework is automatically installed on the machine.
Visual Studio .NET Editions
Visual Studio .NET comes in different editions—Professional, Enterprise Developer and Enterprise Architect. You can select the edition appropriate for the kind of development you are doing.
The Professional edition offers a development tool for creating various types of applications mentioned above. Developers can use this to build Internet and develop applications quickly and create solutions that span any device and integrate with any platform.
The Enterprise Developer edition contains all the features of the Professional edition plus the capabilities for enterprise development. Its features include collaborative team development, third-party tool integration for building XML Web services and built-in project templates with architectural guidelines and spanning comprehensive project life-cycle.
The Enterprise Architect edition contains all the features of Visual Studio .NET Enterprise Developer edition and the capabilities for designing, specifying and communicating application architecture and functionality. The additional features include Visual designer for XML Web services, UML (Unified Modeling Language) support and enterprise templates for development guidelines and policies.
In addition to these editions, there are also special language-specific editions: Visual Basic.NET Standard Edition, Visual C# Standard Edition and Visual C++ .NET Standard (soon to be released). These are primarily for hobbyists, students or beginners who want to try their hands on basic language features.
To run applications developed using the .NET Framework, the machine must have certain ‘runtime’ files installed. They are collectively called .NET redistributable. This is analogous to traditional Visual Basic applications that required Visual Basic runtime installed on target computers. .NET redistributable provides one redistributable installer that contains the common language runtime and .NET Framework components that are necessary to run .NET Framework applications. The redistributable is available as a stand-alone executable and can be installed manually or as a part of your application set-up.
If you have installed the .NET Framework SDK, there is no need to install the redistributable separately. Also, note that there is a difference between .NET Framework SDK and .NET redistributable in terms of the purpose and tools and the documentation supplied. The .NET Framework SDK is intended to ‘develop’ applications whereas .NET redistributable is intended to ‘run’ .NET applications.
Excerpted from .NET Tutorial for Beginners