.NET Framework applications are built on the services of the common language runtime and take advantage of the .NET Framework class library. The common language runtime manages memory, thread execution, code execution, code safety verification, compilation, and other system services. The .NET Framework class library is an object-oriented collection of reusable types that tightly integrate with the common language runtime. You can use these types to develop traditional command-line or graphical user interface (GUI) applications, as well as applications based on ASP.NET, Web Forms, and XML Web services. You can develop your .NET Framework applications in Visual Basic, Visual C#, Visual F#, or Visual C++; any of these programming languages can be used equally well.
To download the .NET Framework version 4, use the links provided in Installing the .NET Framework. Detailed information about the .NET Framework appears in another section of the documentation: .NET Framework 4. The following links to key sections are provided for convenience.
- .NET Framework Class Library
Contains syntax and examples for the entire .NET Framework.
- Quick Technology Finder (.NET Framework)
Provides a table of links to the main technology areas of the .NET Framework.
- What's New in the .NET Framework 4
Describes key features that have been added or modified in the latest version of the .NET Framework.
- Overview of the .NET Framework
Describes key .NET Framework concepts such as the common language runtime, the common type system (CTS), cross-language interoperability, managed execution, assemblies, and security.
- .NET Framework Core Development
Explains common programming tasks that apply to a range of .NET Framework applications: accessing data, file and stream I/O, configuration, encoding, deployment, and debugging.
- .NET Framework Advanced Development
Provides information about other technology areas in .NET Framework programming such as garbage collection, COM interop, and threading.
- Security in the .NET Framework
Contains links to information about the .NET Framework classes and services that enable secure application development.
- .NET Compact Framework Portal
Provides links to information about developing managed applications for resource-constrained computing devices in Visual Studio 2008. .NET Compact Framework application development is not supported in Visual Studio 2010.
- Windows Presentation Foundation
Provides information about developing applications using Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF).
- Windows Communication Foundation
Provides information about the Windows Communication Foundation (WCF) programming model for building service-oriented applications.
- Windows Workflow Foundation
Provides information about the framework, programming model, and tools for Windows Workflow Foundation (WF).
- General Reference for the .NET Framework
Provides additional reference information for the .NET Framework, including ASP.NET and ClickOnce reference topics, configuration file schema, unmanaged API reference, XML standards reference, and a glossary of terms.
- .NET Framework Tools
Provides information about .NET Framework development tools that are available with the Windows SDK.
- .NET Framework Samples
Provides links to the MSDN Code Gallery for sample applications that demonstrate .NET Framework features.