The Wonderful Family of .NET
.NET family has been together in all good and bad times for a few years now. This family of programming languages and tools was first introduced to the world by Microsoft many years ago and they were called neither .NET nor they were created as a family.
Microsoft, the giant in the modern information technology revolution, came up with many programming languages and tools to assist the programmers to create effective and efficient software applications easily. Some of the programming languages were entirely developed by Microsoft while some other languages were adopted. Visual Basic is one of the highlighted inventions of the software typhoons that we loved when we first stepped in to the world of programming.
C++ was the irresistible companion of the power programmers which offered various ways of implementing robust software. Microsoft adopted C++ as Visual C++ to give a deluxe treatment for programmers, so as to provide a one-stop-shop for C++ programming.
Although .NET is now a family of programming languages and tools, their origin was isolated and non-synchronous. The programmers were using Microsoft programming languages independently for software development needs while, there was no one platform for all these languages to work together. At one point of time Microsoft correctly identified the requirements and introduced Visual Studio for this purpose.
The Visual Studio family contained the ‘Visual’ version of many programming languages and tools such as Visual Basic, Visual C++, and Visual J. ASP (Active Server Pages) was still an independent technology catering web development. Of course, this was one of the technical dreams-come-true for many techies and there were some enterprise scale software projects that started based on the newly introduced technology.
After the release of a few versions of Visual Studio and while the golden era of Visual Studio was fading away from the programming horizon, Microsoft decided to introduce the brain child of their latest research and development; .NET framework. All Visual languages were suddenly but carefully converted to .NET and enhanced to the interoperability of the languages. For the first time, Microsoft also introduced CLR (Common Language Runtime), for any of the .NET languages to work on any hardware architecture achieving partial platform independence. Platform independence became the mantra of all times from a few years ago and Java became one of the first programming languages to achieve this proud status.
Today, the .NET family is bound together with a great force of .NET Framework. The old fashioned Visual Basic has been baptized as Visual Basic .NET, giving it the fame it once used to have before it was threatened by Java. ASP is no more an independent member, but an integrated family member with the sole responsibility of taking care of the web front-ends. Visual C++ was renamed as C# under the .NET Framework giving it identical capabilities of Java. For the amusements of many of us, C# offers the same coding style or in other words, syntax as Java, so the Java programmers can easily migrate to C# with a minimum effort and cost. This trick worked positively for Microsoft ever since they launched C#, converting Java worshippers to a new religion.
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