Introduction to .NET
.NET (dot NET) is a platform developed by Microsoft for developers to build all kinds of applications. It is a free, open-source, and cross-platform framework with tools and libraries for building any type of application – web, mobile, desktop, games, IoT, cloud, AI, microservices – you name it, on Android, Apple, Linux, and Windows.
A constantly evolving platform with a 20-year history now provides a powerful universe for creating and developing custom software. At Hicron Software House – a .NET software development company – we know .NET like no one else (maybe except Microsoft). Not a believer? On average 10-years of commercial experience and expertise with .NET is only part of what we can offer.
.NET software development and .NET software outsourcing
Today’s software development and software outsourcing differ from what we were dealing with some years ago. The software is developed for a variety of devices (desktops, laptops, tablets, and smartphones) and platforms (Windows, Linux, macOS). In addition to these popular, there are other players out there, Internet of Things (IoT), cloud platforms, gaming equipment, smart TVs, refrigerators as well as cars to name a few that rely on software.
Precisely because of the universality of the .NET platform, that drove Microsoft’s ambition. The .NET platform was developed as a convenient and ultimate developer’s tool to build software applications for all devices and across platforms. Its popularity has been steadily growing among the community of developers and accelerated even more after the .NET 5 release in 2020, which revolutionized the profession by pioneering the idea of universal software development.
.NET is built on a high-performance runtime (more on that in the .NET runtime section below) that is used in production by many high-scale apps. But there are many arguments in favour of .NET software development, like platform independence, language support, easy deployment, scalability, modular architecture, simplified User Interface, higher performance, security, reliability, and compatibility. Before we jump into the details of .NET advantages and custom .NET software development services, it’s worth clearing up one confusion that has arisen around the naming of the .NET platform.
.NET platform (and the confusion around it)
You may encounter recurring names on the web: .NET Framework, .NET Core, Xamarin/Mono, .NET Standard and get slightly confused. All these belong to the .NET developer platform. Historically
- .NET Framework was the first Microsoft creation, released in 2002. To this day it is dedicated to software development (websites, apps, services) for Windows and remains fully supported by Microsoft.
- .NET Core was introduced to the world in 2014 (most likely, when referring to .NET, Core will be the one in mind). It is a cross-platform and open-source framework (or more precisely Integrated Development Environment) for Windows, Linux, and macOS. New versions of .NET are released every November. What is important the quality level, breaking change policies, and other aspects of each release are the same.
- Xamarin/Mono was founded in 2011, in 2016 it was acquired by Microsoft. Now Xamarin offers tools and libraries for building applications for Android, iOS, tvOS, watchOS, macOS, and Windows. It allows engineers to share up to 90 percent of code across major platforms. In mid-2022 .NET MAUI went into general availability. It is the official successor to Xamarin offering an even better developer experience for cross-platform application development.
- .NET Standard is a formal specification of the .NET APIs (API – Application Programming Interface – a software intermediary that allows two or more applications to communicate with each other) that are available in many .NET implementations. The rationale behind the .NET Standard was to establish greater uniformity in the .NET ecosystem and ease cross-platform development.
In a nutshell, the .NET platform features a set of developers’ tools, libraries, frameworks, and standards to productively write any kind of reliable, performant, secure, and platform-agnostic software. It aims to reduce development time while maintaining the highest standards of software security and fulfilling the business goals of organizations that rely on .NET ecosystem.
Several factors contribute to the platform’s popularity and ultimate success.
.NET platform incorporates a run-time environment – Common Language Runtime (CLR) – the foundation that all .NET applications undergo. CLR is a complete, high-level virtual machine designed to support a wide range of programming languages and the collaborative potential between them. CLR runs the code and provides support services to facilitate the development process. The basic features of the runtime are:
- Garbage collection.
- Memory safety and type safety.
- High-level support for programming languages.
- Cross-platform design.
A common runtime language facilitates the design of components and applications whose objects interact in different languages. Objects written in different languages can communicate with each other, and their behaviours can be tightly integrated. Integration between languages is possible because language compilers and tools that target the runtime use a common type system defined by the runtime and follow runtime rules for defining new types, as well as for creating, using, storing, and binding to types.
The CLR is successful because its features blend together to make programming much easier and more efficient. Simplified languages, firm consistency in the naming and great support in the chain of tools contribute to the .NET platform’s superiority.
Microsoft directly supports three languages for the development of .NET applications:
- C# (C sharp) – one of the most popular programming languages among developers. C# is a simple, modern, object-oriented, and type-safe programming language. C# is .NET’s primary programming language and the most versatile.
- F# (F sharp) – a functional-oriented programming language, that belongs to the ML (Meta Language) family. It also supports the object-oriented programming paradigm. F# makes it easy to write succinct, robust, and performant code.
- Visual Basic – Microsoft’s programming language. It has become a completely object-oriented programming language in the .NET context. VB is an approachable language with a simple syntax for building type-safe, object-oriented apps.
In addition to these three languages, Microsoft enables the development of applications on the .NET platform in more than 40 programming languages. This is possible thanks to the Common Language Infrastructure (CLI) – an open specification and technical standard launched by Microsoft and then adapted by ISO/IEC and ECMA. The CLI standard describes an executable code and runtime environment that permits the use of multiple high-level languages on different computer platforms without having to rewrite them for specific architectures.
.NET Language Compiler
The Common Intermediate Language (CIL) component is the third component of the infrastructure that shapes the .NET platform. CIL is a set of intermediate language binary instructions defined within the Common Language Infrastructure (CLI) specification. CIL instructions are executed by the Common Language Runtime environment.
The source code is translated into Common Intermediate Language (CIL) code when CLI programming languages are compiled. CIL is a set of processor- and platform-independent instructions that can be executed in any environment that supports the Common Language Infrastructure, such as the .NET runtime.
In other words, CIL is a compact code format that can be supported on any operating system or architecture. Using CIL guarantees great interoperability between languages in the platform.
Hicron Software House – your .NET software development company and .NET software outsourcing partner
As a .NET and dot NET Core development services company we have an average of 10 years of commercial experience with this technology. We take a comprehensive approach to each project. We recommend the best architectural, technological, and tooling solutions that optimally fit the scope of our client’s project.
Our goal is to make the software as efficient and future-proof as possible. Whether it is the creation of new custom development or migration or transformation, we propose and create solutions that will secure present and future demands.
.NET gives you an extensive scope for software development. At Hicron Software House, we thoroughly gather business requirements and deploy them with state-of-the-art technology. A wide range of tools under the .NET umbrella in the hands of our experienced and skilled developers is the software you seek. Simply put: nearly anything can be built here.