DoT NET Framework

The .NET Framework is a development platform for building apps [that] consists of the Common Language Runtime (CLR) and the DoT NET Framework class library, which includes a broad range of functionality and support for many industry standards.

The .NET Framework provides many services, including memory management, type and memory safety, security, networking, and application deployment. It provides easy-to-use data structures and APIs that abstract the lower-level Windows operating system.

[ .NET class library overview]

.NET implementations include classes, interfaces, delegates, and value types that expedite and optimize the development process and provide access to system functionality. To facilitate interoperability between languages, most .NET types are CLS-compliant and can therefore be used from any programming language whose compiler conforms to the common language specification (CLS).

.NET types are the foundation on which .NET applications, components, and controls are built. .NET implementations include types that perform the following functions:

Represent base data types and exceptions.

Encapsulate data structures.

Perform I/O.

Access information about loaded types.

Invoke .NET Framework security checks.

Provide data access, rich client-side GUI, and server-controlled, client-side GUI.

.NET provides a rich set of interfaces, as well as abstract and concrete (non-abstract) classes. You can use the concrete classes as is or, in many cases, derive your own classes from them. To use the functionality of an interface, you can either create a class that implements the interface or derive a class from one of the .NET classes that implements the interface.

Naming conventions
.NET types use a dot syntax naming scheme that connotes a hierarchy. This technique groups related types into namespaces so they can be searched and referenced more easily. The first part of the full name — up to the rightmost dot — is the namespace name. The last part of the name is the type name. For example, System.Collections.Generic.List<T> represents the List<T> type, which belongs to the System.Collections.Generic namespace. The types in System.Collections.Generic can be used to work with generic collections.

This naming scheme makes it easy for library developers extending the .NET Framework to create hierarchical groups of types and name them in a consistent, informative manner. It also allows types to be unambiguously identified by their full name (that is, by their namespace and type name), which prevents type name collisions. Library developers are expected to use the following convention when creating names for their namespaces:

CompanyName.TechnologyName

For example, the namespace Microsoft.Word conforms to this guideline.

The use of naming patterns to group related types into namespaces is a very useful way to build and document class libraries. However, this naming scheme has no effect on visibility, member access, inheritance, security, or binding. A namespace can be partitioned across multiple assemblies and a single assembly can contain types from multiple namespaces. The assembly provides the formal structure for versioning, deployment, security, loading, and visibility in the common language runtime.

For more information on namespaces and type names, see Common Type System.