When it comes to Windows programs and apps, you may have heard of the programming technique called .NET. During installation, you usually find a suitable version of .NET for yourself, but sometimes you may need help. In this article, we will answer common questions about .NET.
What is .NET? Microsoft first used the name “.NET” in 2000. Over time, the products associated with this term have changed, but today, .NET can be described as a collection of programming interfaces and utilities that developers can use to create various cross-platform applications. These applications range from mobile apps to traditional desktop programs and games to server and cloud applications. .NET is “cross-platform,” meaning that it supports nearly all relevant systems.
Is “.NET,” “.NET Framework,” and “.NET Core” the same thing? The term “.NET” is not unique unto itself. It is a generic term for the programming technology behind it. There are “.NET Framework,” and “.NET Core.” The latter is the modern, cross-platform version of the .NET library, implemented from the ground up as open source. The current versions are 6.0 and 7.0.
What versions of the .NET Framework do I need as a user? Windows 10 and 11 come pre-installed with the .NET Framework 4.8, and it’s recommended that you maintain this. If an older .NET program requires an earlier version, you don’t need to download it manually because these versions are also included in Windows but aren’t activated by default. Open Settings, click on “Programs and Features,” then “Turn Windows features on or off.” Choose “.NET Framework 3.5 (includes .NET 2.0 and 3.0)” in the list.
Do I need to install .NET? Most programs built on top of .NET come with everything they need and install it automatically. However, some apps require a suitable .NET already to be installed. If your browser doesn’t redirect you to a download page for the appropriate .NET runtime, you can manually download it from dotnet.microsoft.com/download.
Which .NET version do I need, and can I install more than one? Each version of .NET is installed in its folder structure, and using several .NET runtimes in parallel isn’t a problem. However, you should import the requested version.
What do I need to start programming with .NET? To create simple console programs, all you need is a current .NET SDK (Software Development Kit) available for download. You can edit your code with any text editor and build projects with CLI commands. For more complex projects, use Microsoft’s Visual Studio Code or Visual Studio, which comes in several editions, including a free community edition.
By knowing the basics of .NET, you can optimize your system’s performance and even start programming apps yourself. With the right tools and guidance, you can get started on your journey towards developing exciting cross-platform applications.