Microsoft NET Framework – what is it?
You probably know that the main occupation of programmers is to write code. In doing so, they use different programming languages to tell the computer what it should do:
But there is one problem: programming languages are quite primitive. They can easily do simple things like addition and multiplication. Everything else takes long and hard work. Do you want to display text or pictures on the screen? Then you will have to write a lot of code using the simplest parts of the language.
This is where the .NET Framework comes in. Basically, it’s an extensive set of written code snippets (created and maintained by Microsoft) that programmers can use to write programs faster.
For example, the .NET Framework takes care of all the window-drawing operations on the screen. The programmer only has to insert text, think about the menu of the program, set the behavior of the buttons when the user clicks on them, and so on.
But the .NET Framework is much more than just a set of extra code. It includes tools to reduce development time and additional APIs that programmers can use to easily interact with services such as the Windows Store. Instead of having to manually write all the code needed to support the universal Windows platform, you can use the .NET Framework:
There is only one disadvantage of developing applications using the .NET Framework – they cannot be run if the .NET is not installed on your system.
The .NET Framework consists of two parts. The first part includes a set of pre-written code (officially called SDKs, Dev Packs or “Developer Packs”). The second part includes a program that can interpret the .NET Framework code into commands for the operating system. This part, called the “runtime environment” allows you to run programs written using the .NET Framework.
In this respect, the .NET Framework resembles Java – in order to use applications written in it, you need to download the Java Runtime Environment.
To summarize why you need the Microsoft NET Framework: if you are a simple user who is not going to do programming, you only need the .NET Framework runtime environment.
How to Install the Microsoft NET Framework
Most Windows computers already have the Microsoft NET Framework installed, but its version may be outdated. For example, Windows 8 and 8.1 come with version 4.5.1, while Windows 10 comes with version 4.6, 4.6.1 or 4.6.2.
At the time of writing this article, the latest version is Microsoft NET Framework 4.7. That is what we are going to install:
Microsoft Net Framework can also be installed through the Windows Update Center. But many people disable Windows Update, so this method will be preferable.
Before installation – The Microsoft Net Framework can be installed on Windows 10, Windows 8.1 and Windows 7 SP1 on both 32-bit and 64-bit systems. Microsoft recommends having at least 2.5 GB of free hard disk space for an error-free installation.
Microsoft offers two types of installers: web installer and standalone installer. The web installer weighs less than 2 MB, and downloads all necessary components during the installation. You will therefore need a stable Internet connection.
The stand-alone installer weighs about 60 MB, and does not require Internet access during installation.
Both installers contain the same versions of the NET Framework, but we prefer to use the standalone installer. It is more reliable, and will always be at your fingertips in case you need to reinstall the NET Framework. Once downloaded, the installation process shouldn’t be difficult – just follow the on-screen instructions. And then you will quickly understand why you need the NET Framework 4.
Please note that version 4.7 is a running update of versions 4, 4.5, 4.5.1, 4.5.2, 4.6, 4.6.1 and 4.6.2. Therefore do not uninstall previous versions after installation. NET Framework 3.5 SP1 and older versions are installed separately.
By default, the NET Framework installs the English version, no matter which one you use the installer. For localization you need to download the appropriate language package. Language packs for version 4.7 are currently only available as standalone installers.
Follow the link below, select the desired language, wait for the page to reload and click “Download”.
One more thing about the Microsoft Net Framework
Another reason why you need the NET Framework. A few years ago, Microsoft opened up the source code of the NET Framework, allowing everyone to contribute to the development of the platform. As a result, Microsoft has become the most active organization on GitHub.
What does this mean for you? In essence, it means that applications written in the .NET Framework will only get more popular and better in the future. So why not install the .NET Framework right now?