A .NET framework is a tool that is developed and monitored by Microsoft which primarily runs on Microsoft Windows. Developers use this framework to create applications as it is easy to understand the framework. In laymen words, a framework is a bunch of codes that the developer can call without actually writing it into their code.
The .NET framework consists of an application virtual machine that provides various services like memory management, security and exception handling, Framework class library and common language runtime. The .NET framework includes a large class library which is known as Framework class library (FCL), this library also provides language interoperability which means each language can use code written in another language.
The Framework class library also provides numeric algorithms, database connectivity, data access, user interface, web application development, network communications, and cryptography. The developers build their programs by combining their code with all these services provided by the framework class library and other libraries. The programs that are written in the .NET framework by the developers after combining of code and libraries are executed in a software environment which is known as Common language runtime.
The .NET framework started its journey by late 2000 in the industry as a proprietary software but later after the hard work and smart work of the firms like Microsoft, Hewlett-Packard, and Intel, this proprietary software was standardized even before its first release.
In earlier stages even when the .NET framework was standardized, the developers who belonged to free and open source software communities were not happy. They expressed their unease with the selected terms and the idea of free and open source implementation, their main objection was regarding software patents.
After this incident, the firm changed the .NET development and made it mandatory to follow a contemporary model of a software project which was developed the community along with issuing an update to its patent promising to address the concerns to resolve the issue that was raised by the developers.
The .NET framework platform majorly targets mobile computing, alternative operating systems, web browser plug-ins, embedded devices and mobile computing. Under the .NET framework family their two more branches which are a .NET compact framework and .NET micro framework.
The .NET compact framework is a reduced version of the framework and is available on Windows CE platforms including windows smartphones while the .NET micro framework is restricted to resource-constrained embedded devices.
The .NET framework is built in such a manner that it supports every kind of application so that the user will only need to install one framework instead of installing the particular framework for the particular application.
The .NET framework development was started in the late 1990’s under the name of Next-generation Windows Services by Microsoft. The first beta versions of .NET framework named .NET 1.0 were released by late 2000 while the first version of the .NET framework was released on 13 February 2002 bringing managed code to Windows NT 4.0, XP, ME, 98 and 2000. After the release of the first version of the .NET framework by Microsoft, there have been nine upgrades out of which seven have updates released along with new versions of Visual Studio.
Instead of upgrading Visual Studio the common language runtime was upgraded with the two versions of the .NET framework named 2.0 and 4.0. The .NET framework version 1.0 which was the first official version of the .NET framework was released on 13 February 2002.
The .NET framework version 1.1 was officially published on 3 April 2003 by Microsoft. Version 2.0 .NET framework globally released on 22 January 2006 along with Visual Studio 2005 and Microsoft SQL Server 2005. Version 3.0 of the .NET framework was officially released on 21 November 2006, it used the same CLR as .NET framework 2.0. The .NET framework version 4.0 was released on 29 September 2008. The recent most updated and in use .NET framework is .NET framework version 4.7.2 which was released on 30 April 2018. The new version 4.8 is under development and will be released soon.
Microsoft has recently announced the .NET framework 4.8 early access build 3621 globally as they are looking for feedback on this early release. The .NET framework 4.8 early access build 3621 is one the in development builds of the next version of the .NET framework. This new release has various new features and it is functionally validated by the .NET team. Although this new build is enthralling the quirk is that this new build is not supported for production use. This new build 3621 will be replacing the existing .NET Framework 4 and later installation on your virtual machine.
The Asp.NET web application development framework 4.8 builds 3621’s pre-release includes improvements in various areas. Few improvements that are included in this new build are accessibility improvements in WinForms areas, accessibility improvements in WPF areas, accessibility improvements in Common language runtime (CLR), accessibility improvements in BCL and Networking. Various other improvements will be known after the official release of this new build.
Various Windows and Windows server versions on which the .NET framework build 3621 can be installed are:
=> Windows 10 April 2018 update
=> Windows 10 Fall creators update
=>Windows 10 creators update
=>Windows 10 Anniversary update
=>Windows server version 1709
=>Windows Server 2016
The IT giant Microsoft is looking forward to this early release as they need user’s feedback on this build. Just like this early release the company has assured that they will be sharing early builds of the next release of .NET framework too through their early access program.
As I said earlier, the company is really looking forward to this early release, they are working very hard to make this early access stable and compatible. But bugs and time to time issues are still expected and to fix them the company has asked the developers to give their feedback about the early access on GitHub so that all the bugs and issues can be fixed before the official release of the .NET framework 4.8 early access build 3621.