Programming Microsoft Visual Basic .NET Version 2003 ... - doc serve

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Programming Microsoft Visual Basic .NET Version 2003 ... - doc serve

8 Part I: The Basics

Requirements

As of this writing, you can run the .NET Framework only on a Windows computer. All

Windows versions are supported, with the notable exception of Windows 95. You can

use Windows 98, Windows 98 SE, Windows Me, Windows NT 4, Windows 2000, Windows

XP, and Windows 2003, in all their Home, Professional, and Server variants.

You can download the .NET Framework from the Microsoft Web site and install it to

make the systems discussed here .NET-compliant. However, since this book is about

Visual Basic .NET, I assume that you’ll install the .NET Framework from Visual Studio

.NET CDs. The complete framework takes up about 20 MB on the hard disk, but

because individual .NET applications reuse much of the code in the .NET class hierarchy,

you can expect them to have a smaller footprint than their COM counterparts. For

example, Visual Basic applications don’t need any extra DLLs as they did until Visual

Basic 6. Windows XP and Windows 2003 include the .NET Framework, so you don’t

have to install it to run your applications on these systems.

The framework contains the compilers and other command-line utilities to link modules

together and install .NET components in the GAC. Technically speaking, no additional

development tools are needed to develop .NET applications. In practice,

however, you need Visual Studio .NET (or a similar environment from another vendor)

to do serious programming. For example, Visual Studio contains the designers for creating

Windows Forms and Web Forms applications visually and a tool for exploring the

methods that a Web service exposes using a standard object browser.

.NET Architecture

The best way to understand how .NET works is to look at the many layers in the .NET

Framework, as shown in Figure 1-1. Let me describe each individual layer, starting

from the bottom.

VB C++ C# VJ# JScript …

Common Language Specification

ASP.NET Windows Forms

Data and XML

Base Class Library

Common Language Runtime

Windows COM+ Services

Figure 1-1 The layers in the .NET Framework

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