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.NET Development

This section of the MSDN Library contains documentation for the .NET Framework. If you're new to the .NET Framework, see the overview. You'll also find download instructions, a complete API reference, overviews, step-by-step procedures, and code examples. See the glossary for definitions of key terms.

We update the latest versions of the .NET Framework documentation on a regular basis with content fixes and enhancements, but we do not maintain older versions. For this reason, we recommend that you use the following link even if you're using an older version of the .NET Framework:

Earlier versions of the .NET Framework are available from the table of contents pane on the left.

You can use the .NET Framework to develop desktop, web, and mobile apps:

You can extend the capabilities of your apps with the following .NET Framework technologies:

  • Silverlight

    A cross-browser, cross-platform implementation of the .NET Framework for building media experiences and rich interactive apps for the web, desktop, and phone. (See what’s new.)

  • WCF Data Services

    A technology that enables you to create services that use the Open Data Protocol (OData), which exposes and consumes data over the web or intranet by using the semantics of representational state transfer (REST).

  • Entity Framework

    A technology that supports the development of data-oriented software applications. The Entity Framework enables developers to work with data in the form of domain-specific objects and properties, without having to concern themselves with the underlying database tables and columns where this data is stored. With the Entity Framework, developers can work at a higher level of abstraction when they deal with data, and can create and maintain data-oriented applications with less code than in traditional applications.

  • Reactive Extensions

    A library for composing asynchronous and event-based programs for the .NET Framework, Silverlight, and Windows Phone 7 by using observable sequences and LINQ-style query operators.

  • Microsoft Surface

    A development platform that helps you create interactive Microsoft Surface apps by using the .NET Framework. This technology supports high-end graphics and multiuser interaction through natural gestures, touch, and physical objects.

  • Windows Identity Foundation (WIF)

    A set of .NET Framework classes that help you build claims-aware, relying party applications and security token services. In the .NET Framework 3.5 SP1 and the .NET Framework 4, the WIF runtime was downloaded separately (see associated documentation). Beginning with the .NET Framework 4.5, WIF is fully integrated into the .NET Framework, and WIF content is available in the .NET Framework documentation set.

  • Windows Server AppFabric

    A set of integrated technologies that make it easier to build, scale, and manage web and composite apps that run on Internet Information Services (IIS).

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