.NET frame work is a multipurpose software application development framework developed by Microsoft. It provides uniform set of tools and features which can be used to develop variety of applications including desktop, web based and mobile applications. The best thing about .NET framework is that you don’t need to learn much about application development techniques once you have basic understanding of the frame.
There are two basic components of .NET framework.
Common Language Runtime
Common language runtime is a .NET runtime framework which is able to run all the .NET supported programming language. .NET compiler do not directly compiles source code to machined code; rather it converts into Microsoft Intermediate Language which also called managed code. Managed codes of all the .NET languages are same such as C#, VB and J#. Hence, the modules developed in one language can be integrated with each other.
Framework Class Libraries
Framework Class Libraries are set of already build modules containing built in capabilities which we can reuse and modify according to our needs. FCL immensely reduces the amount of code required to develop an application. It provides built in frameworks for developing web applications, networking, database capabilities, algorithms and designs etc.
During development phase in the late 90s, .NET framework was given the name “Next Generation Windows services” short hand notation was NGWS. Microsoft initially released the beta version of first .NET framework in year 2000. Basic purpose of developing was to compete with Sun’s JAVA which was at that time, sole giant in the software development industry. The first version of .NET framework was developed in the year 2002 and it was given the name .NET 1.0. The resource is here.