You can think of the runtime as an agent that manages code at execution time, providing core services such as memory management, thread management, and remoting, while also enforcing strict type safety and other forms of code accuracy that ensure security and robustness. In fact, the concept of code management is a fundamental principle of the runtime. Code that targets the runtime is known as managed code, while code that does not target the runtime is known as unmanaged code.
The common language runtime manages memory, thread execution, code execution, code safety verification, compilation, and other system services. These features are intrinsic to the managed code that runs on the common language runtime.
The runtime enforces code access security. For example, users can trust that an executable embedded in a Web page can play an animation on screen or sing a song, but cannot access their personal data, file system, or network. The security features of the runtime thus enable legitimate Internet-deployed software to be exceptionally feature rich.
The runtime also enforces code robustness by implementing a strict type-and-code-verification infrastructure called the Common Type System (CTS). The CTS ensures that all managed code is self-describing. The various Microsoft and third-party language compilers generate managed code that conforms to the CTS. This means that managed code can consume other managed types and instances, while strictly enforcing type fidelity and type safety.
In addition, the managed environment of the runtime eliminates many common software issues. For example, the runtime automatically handles object layout and manages references to objects, releasing them when they are no longer being used. This automatic memory management resolves the two most common application errors, memory leaks and invalid memory references.
The runtime also accelerates developer productivity. For example, programmers can write applications in their development language of choice, yet take full advantage of the runtime, the class library, and components written in other languages by other developers. Any compiler vendor who chooses to target the runtime can do so. Language compilers that target the .NET Framework make the features of the .NET Framework available to existing code written in that language, greatly easing the migration process for existing applications.
While the runtime is designed for the software of the future, it also supports software of today and yesterday. Interoperability between managed and unmanaged code enables developers to continue to use necessary COM components and DLLs.
The runtime is designed to enhance performance. Although the common language runtime provides many standard runtime services, managed code is never interpreted. A feature called just-in-time (JIT) compiling enables all managed code to run in the native machine language of the system on which it is executing. Meanwhile, the memory manager removes the possibilities of fragmented memory and increases memory locality-of-reference to further increase performance.
Finally, the runtime can be hosted by high-performance, server-side applications, such as Microsoft® SQL Server™ and Internet Information Services (IIS). This infrastructure enables you to use managed code to write your business logic, while still enjoying the superior performance of the industry's best enterprise servers that support runtime hosting.
Can I have more information on the Class Library?
The class library, the other main component of the .NET Framework, is a comprehensive, object-oriented collection of reusable types that you can use to develop applications ranging from traditional command-line or graphical user interface (GUI) applications to applications based on the latest innovations provided by ASP.NET, such as Web Forms and XML Web services.
The .NET Framework class library is a collection of reusable types that tightly integrate with the common language runtime. The class library is object oriented, providing types from which your own managed code can derive functionality. This not only makes the .NET Framework types easy to use, but also reduces the time associated with learning new features of the .NET Framework. In addition, third-party components can integrate seamlessly with classes in the .NET Framework.
For example, the .NET Framework collection classes implement a set of interfaces that you can use to develop your own collection classes. Your collection classes will blend seamlessly with the classes in the .NET Framework.
As you would expect from an object-oriented class library, the .NET Framework types enable you to accomplish a range of common programming tasks, including tasks such as string management, data collection, database connectivity, and file access. In addition to these common tasks, the class library includes types that support a variety of specialized development scenarios.
What namespaces are included in the .NET Framework?