Microsoft .NET framework is a software framework for Microsoft software including Windows Operating Systems. It includes a large library including many different programming languages. Microsoft .NET framework was initially released in 2002 and now it has become a standard for almost all Microsoft related development work. The latest major release .NET framework 4.0 was released in April, 2010. .NET Framework 4 offline installer can be downloaded at the end of this article.
The base class library provides functions for user interface, database connectivity, network and web application development. Like Java, the programs developed in .NET framework require a base software to be install which interprets the programs and communicates with the hardware interface. This base software is called Common Library Runtime (CLR).
The latest version of .NET Framework is 4.0.30319.1. .NET Framework 4.0 includes the following improvements:
Improvements in Common Language Runtime (CLR) and Base Class Library (BCL)
Innovations in the Visual Basic and C# languages, for example statement lambdas, implicit line continuations, dynamic dispatch, and named/optional parameters.
Improvements in Data Access and Modeling
Enhancements to ASP.NET
Improvements in Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF)
Improvements to Windows Workflow (WF) that enable developers to better host and interact with workflows.
Improvements to Windows Communication Foundation (WCF) such as support for WCF Workflow Services enabling workflow programs with messaging activities, correlation support
Innovative new parallel-programming features such as parallel loop support, Task Parallel Library (TPL), Parallel LINQ (PLINQ), and coordination data structures which let developers harness the power of multi-core processors
System Requirements of .NET framework 4.0
Supported Operating Systems:Windows 7;Windows 7 Service Pack 1;Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 2;Windows Server 2008;Windows Server 2008 R2;Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1;Windows Vista Service Pack 1;Windows XP Service Pack 3
ia64 (some features are not supported on ia64 for example, WPF)
Recommended Minimum: Pentium 1 GHz or higher with 512 MB RAM or more