.NET (pronounced "dot net") has a lot of different meanings. At a high level, it is Microsoft's development platform for designing software and building applications targeting the Windows operating system. It is also a term used to define Microsoft's server platform initiatives, representing a loose collection of server-based products that run distributed applications and support large, multi-tiered systems. .NET is a term also used to define the latest system runtime environment, enabling applications written in different languages to execute and behave similarly. In this appendix, we'll be discussing how to build programs and design software using .NET languages and targeting the latest .NET runtime.
.NET is unique to all previous Microsoft development platforms and is quite different from most development platforms for non-Windows operating systems. Unlike older, more traditional programming environments, .NET programs can be written in one of many different .NET-enabled languages. Developers familiar with languages such as Visual Basic, C++, Java, or even older mainframe languages such as Cobol can leverage their skills sets by building .NET programs using their language's .NET equivalent. This helps to make the .NET learning curve a little less steep.
Of course, understanding .NET programming goes well beyond the simple syntax of disparate languages. Modern software development requires programmers to have at least a cursory understanding of ...