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Professional Visual Basic® 2008 by Bill Sheldon, Kent Sharkey, Bill Evjen, Billy Hollis

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Chapter 4. The Common Language

You've learned how to create simple applications and looked at how to create classes. Now it's time not only to start tying these elements together, but also to learn how to dispose of some of the classes that you have created. The architects of .NET realized that all procedural languages require certain base functionality. For example, many languages ship with their own runtime that provides features such as memory management, but what if, instead of each language shipping with its own runtime implementation, all languages used a common runtime? This would provide languages with a standard environment and access to all of the same features. This is exactly what the common language runtime (CLR) provides.

The CLR manages the execution of code on the .NET platform. .NET provided Visual Basic developers with better support for many advanced features, including operator overloading, implementation inheritance, threading, and the ability to marshal objects. Building such features into a language is not trivial. The CLR enabled Microsoft to concentrate on building this plumbing one time and then reuse it across different programming languages. Because the CLR supports these features and because Visual Basic is built on top of the CLR, Visual Basic can use these features. As a result, going forward, Visual Basic is the equal of every other .NET language, with the CLR eliminating many of the shortcomings of the previous versions of Visual Basic.

Visual Basic ...

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