Getting Started

Welcome to the MSDN .NET Framework Developer Center Getting Started page. This page is designed to introduce people new to the .NET Framework to the concepts, tools and ideas around the .NET Framework and provide the resources for getting started.

  • What is the .NET Framework?
  • See the .NET Framework in Action
  • Get the .NET Framework
  • Understanding .NET Framework Programming
  • Download .NET Framework Code Samples

What is the .NET Framework?

The .NET Framework is a development and execution environment that allows different programming languages & libraries to work together seamlessly to create Windows-based applications that are easier to build, manage, deploy, and integrate with other networked systems.

The .NET Framework consists of:

  • The Common Language Runtime (CLR)
    A language-neutral development & execution environment that provides services to help "manage" application execution
  • The Framework Class Libraries (FCL)
    A consistent, object-oriented library of prepackaged functionality

The .NET Framework provides the basic infrastructure that Windows-based applications need to make Microsoft's .NET vision of connecting information, people, systems, and devices a reality:

  • Support for standard networking protocols & specifications
    The .NET Framework uses standard Internet protocols and specifications like TCP/IP, SOAP, XML, & HTTP to allow a broad range of information, people, systems, and devices to be connected
  • Support for different programming languages
    The .NET Framework supports a variety of different programming languages so developers can pick the language of their choice
  • Support for programming libraries developed in different languages
    The .NET Framework provides a consistent programming model for using prepackaged units of functionality (libraries) which makes application development faster, easier & cheaper
  • Support for different platforms
    The .NET Framework is available for a variety of Windows platforms, which allows people, systems, and devices to be connected using different computing platforms. E.g. People using desktop platforms like Windows XP or device platforms like Windows CE can connect to server systems using Windows Server 2003.

See the .NET Framework in Action

Businesses and organizations worldwide are deploying applications built on the .NET Framework 3.0.

Case Studies

Browse the case studies page to read vignettes about the solutions they have created.   

Get the .NET Framework

Check the system requirements then, get the Framework!

Download the .NET Framework
Get the .NET Framework Redistributable, .NET Framework SDK as well as recent updates to both from the .downloads page of the NET Framework Developer Center.

Understanding .NET Framework Programming

Once you've downloaded and installed the .NET Framework, these overview materials will get you quickly up to speed on .NET Framework programming.

The Base Class Libraries (BCL)
The BCL is a consistent, object-oriented library of prepackaged functionality.
Quick Technology Finder
This page provides a quick reference to the major technology areas of the .NET Framework.
.NET Framework Technology Overview
Read the product overview for the Microsoft .NET Framework
Microsoft .NET Framework FAQ
Get answers to the most frequently asked questions about Microsoft .NET and the .NET Framework.
How To: Perform a Security Code Review for Managed Code (.NET Framework 2.0)
This How To shows you how to perform security code reviews. This module presents the steps involved in the activity, and techniques for analyzing your results.

Download .NET Framework Code Samples

Once you have a good undestanding of what the .NET Framework is and how it works, download these code samples to get started quickly.

Microsoft .NET Framework SDK QuickStart Tutorials
These tutorials offer focused ways to learn about the most compelling features of the .NET Framework technology, including how to put them immediately to work for you or your company. Topics covered include: ASP.NET, Windows Forms, .NET Compact Framework, and a demonstration of some of the more common tasks of developers.