What is .net
dot net is a set of libraries that reduce the cost of programming on Microsoft products.
We may see .net on the internet, or in our computer programs on Windows computers. Microsoft has versions of .net called 1.1, 2.0, 3.5 and 4.0 – all of these are what we call libraries, but I will call them a child seat.
Not everyone wants a car with a child seat, but most everyone needs a car. Thus, in the analogy as it applies to Microsoft, Once you purchased the Windows Operating System, whether it is XP, Vista or the new Windows 7, these .net libraries may not have been included when the car rolled out the the dealership’s showroom.
Many computer programs that you might need for Windows computers are written in programming languages that are also not included in your Windows operating system. These include, to the largest extent, Windows Visual Basic and Windows C#, pronounced C sharp. Visual Basic and C# have nothing to do and little in common with the traditional languages of similar names. The Microsoft languages are proprietary designs that often include graphical development environments and facilities to create an ‘installer’ for transporting the application to new computer installations.
But a language is not enough. Pretty much all computer languages depend on libraries to extend the capabilities of the language and ease the programming of tasks. Thus, many times when you install a program on a Microsoft Operating System, it may have a dependency on a .net library. This is often not true of the small applications that you may be able to download for free from a trusted website like download.cnet.com but it is true of many computer programs that you can buy.
Often, a computer program you might need to buy for your computer, QuickBooks for example, will install the .net libraries needed to run the program. So you may have installed .net libraries without knowing it.