The Microsoft .NET platform is really an evolution of the Windows software platform and addresses some of the key requirements posed by the development community to help design, build, and manage software applications with reduced time and complexity. Even though the biggest immediate change in the overall platform is the .NET Framework, which provides key technologies for development of custom applications, the change is gradually making its way into almost every technology that Microsoft develops, including the operating system, servers, programming framework, applications, and tools.
Key components of the overall .NET platform include the following:
.NET Framework— The core of the platform, providing key services for application development, deployment, and execution.
.NET Compact Framework for Smart Devices— A subset of the .NET Framework targeted for Smart Devices such as PDAs and mobile phones.
Visual Studio .NET— An integrated set of tools for developing applications and components using the .NET Framework.
Zero Deploy Smart Client Application— A new programming model allowing rich (also known as “thick”) clients to be easily deployed and managed in a secure fashion, providing an enhanced user interface to clients.
Microsoft Office System— Works together with the Smart Client Application model to provide key document processing, analytics, and electronic forms capability.
Prepackaged XML Web services— A set of standards-based hosted Web services providing prepackaged functionality that can be integrated into existing and new applications.
Enterprise Servers— A core server-side infrastructure for deploying and managing either custom-developed applications or prepackaged functionality.