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How to Talk Tech: What Is .NET?

You ever get the nagging feeling that maybe the developers you’re working with are playing with you, like making up fake techie-sounding terms to see if you catch on? 

No? So it’s just us? Oh well, then.

In any case, if there were ever a tech term that made you stop and think, “Now that’s a pretend computer term made up by a 10-year-old,” our nominee would be .NET (pronounced dot-net — now do you see what we mean?)

Believe it or not, .NET is not only a real tech term, it’s also a Microsoft software development platform that’s now one of the most popular tools for building applications for Windows, web and mobile devices. 

Luckily, we are tech experts, so we’re here to explain to you exactly what .NET is, where it came from, what it’s used for, and when you should consider using it in your next software project.

History of .NET

The .NET framework was first introduced by Microsoft in 2002 as a way to provide a unified platform for building Windows applications. Over the years, .NET has evolved and expanded, becoming a full-fledged development platform for a wide range of devices, including web and mobile. Closely tied to the beginning of .NET was the development of C#, which was intentionally introduced as one of the first programming languages within the .NET framework, specifically designed to take advantage of the features of the .NET platform. 

.NET is a kind of one-stop shop for Windows programmers, providing a complete set of tools and libraries for building and deploying applications, including compilers, runtime environments and libraries for common tasks such as database access, security and web development. With .NET, developers can write code in a variety of programming languages, including C#, F# and Visual Basic, and easily integrate that code into their applications.

In 2014, Microsoft introduced .NET Core, a modular and cross-platform version of .NET, designed for building modern and cloud-based applications. .NET Core is open-source and can run on multiple platforms, including Windows, macOS and Linux, making it an attractive option for developers who want to build cross-platform applications.

Today,.NET and .NET Core are two related but distinct platforms for building applications. While .NET Core is built on the same principles as .NET, it has a smaller runtime and a modular design that enables developers to choose only the components they need, resulting in smaller application sizes and faster performance. Both .NET and .NET Core are widely used by developers and organizations for building a variety of applications, with .NET Core being particularly popular for cloud-based and microservice applications.

What is .NET used for?

.NET can do almost everything, even if it isn’t always the ideal software solution for every application. As we’ve said before, gives developers what they need for some of their most common programming projects. 

It’s especially known for building secure applications, including built-in support for cryptography and secure communication, as well as a security-focused runtime environment that helps to prevent common security threats such as buffer overflows and other vulnerabilities. 

Strengths of .NET

One of the main strengths of .NET is its versatility, allowing developers to create applications for a wide range of platforms and devices, including Windows, web and mobile devices. It also has a large and active community of developers, so engineers can call on a large common vault of resources, support and tools for building applications. Additionally, as we’ve noted, .NET is known for its strong security features.

Weaknesses of .NET

.NET is Microsoft’s baby, and there’s no getting around it. This is an issue for developers who prefer to use non-Microsoft technologies. Additionally, .NET has a reputation as being more resource-intensive than other platforms, requiring more memory and processing power.

Who uses .NET?

Obviously, Microsoft uses .NET for many of its own products, including Windows and Office. Many other major corporations also use .NET, including Dell and ExxonMobil. .NET is also commonly used in the financial and healthcare industries, where security and performance are critical concerns.



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