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.NET Revolution : An Overview of the .Net Framework Versions

.NET Revolution : An Overview of the .Net Framework Versions

The .Net Framework, a programming model developed by Microsoft supports building as well as running applications for Windows, Windows Phone, Windows servers, XML Web services, and Microsoft Azure. The framework includes a large class library called FCL (Framework Class Library) as well as CLR (Common Language Interoperability) across various programming languages like VB.Net, C++, F#, and C#. The .Net framework solutions provide the Base Class Library that covers the broad range of programming needs in a large number of areas using data access, Interface, Cryptography, data connectivity, numerous algorithms, network communications, and web application development.

.Net framework is one of the most popular Frameworks used today, according to a survey of StackOverflow. In the survey, 37.4% of the developers have responded they are using .Net Framework. So many changes have made with .Net Framework in various versions. Let us proceed with the journey of .Net framework versions and their features.

.NET Framework Timeline

.Net Framework Timeline

Microsoft initiated the .NET Framework development process in the 1990s, under the Next Generation Windows Services and released the first beta version in late 2000. On February 13, 2002, the .NET Framework 1.0 was released for Windows 98, Windows ME, Windows NT 4.0, Windows 2000 and Windows XP. A major upgradation was made on the version 1.0 and it was released as .NET Framework 1.1 on April 3, 2003. It is the last version that supported Windows NT 4.0. The .NET version 2 was released on January 22, 2006, and its SDK was launched in 2006. It is the last version that supported Windows ME and Windows 98. On November 21, 2006, .NET Framework 3.0 was launched and it was formerly recognized as WinFx. Unlike the previous .NET versions, Microsoft didn’t release any Compact Framework version as a counterpart for this 3rd version.

The version 3.5 was released on November 19, 2007. As like version 3.0, .NET Framework version 3.5 uses CLR 2.0, which is the same version as .NET Framework 2.0 used. .NET Framework 3.5 is supported on Windows Vista, Windows XP, Windows 7, Windows Server 2008 and many more. Then, the .NET Framework 4 was launched on April 12, 2010. This version has introduced the new CLR 4.0. The next version .NET Framework 4.5 was released on August 15, 2012. Microsoft updated this version and released a new version called .NET 4.6 on July 20, 2015. It supports RyuJIT, a new Just-in-Time compiler for 64 bit. With the intent to release the next version of .NET Framework, Microsoft released the visual studio 2017 on April 5, 2017. Later, the .NET Framework version 4.7 becomes available to use from May 2, 2017. The latest version of .NET Framework called .NET 4.8 was released on April 18, 2019.

Different .NET Framework Versions and Features

Each release of the .NET Framework is updated with new features; let us dig deep into each version and its features:

.Net Framework 1.0

  • CLR Version: 1.0
  • IDE Released: Visual Studio .Net

The .Net 1.0 is the first version of .Net Framework and includes everything you require to run the .Net Framework applications. It includes the CLR, Class Library and ASP.Net.

Features of .Net Framework 1.0:

  • Introduced CLR 1.0
  • Use of DLL class Libraries
  • Support for Object-oriented web app development

.Net Framework 1.1

  • CLR Version: 1.1
  • IDE Released: Visual Studio .NET 2003

.NET Framework version 1.1 is the first major upgrade from its earlier version. This version comes with ASP.Net mobile controls that support mobile device development. It also includes ADO.net classes that aid communication using Oracle Databases and Database Connectivity (ODBC). This release has fixed some security issues discovered in the .Net Framework 1.0 and ensuring the code access security in your ASP.Net apps. It offers support for IPv6.

Features of .Net Framework 1.1:

  • Enhanced features with ADO.Net and ASP.Net
  • Security Enhancement along with secure coding guideline
  • Support for IPv6
  • Built-in support for databases and ODBC

.Net Framework 2.0

  • CLR Version: 2.0
  • IDE Released: Visual Studio .Net 2005

After the success of .Net Framework 1.1, Microsoft released the compact version of the framework and named as .Net Framework 3.0. This version focuses primarily on increasing the developer’s productivity. The version was updated with new features in ADO.NET like asynchronous database operations, XML data types, user-defined types (UDT), and snapshot isolation. In addition, it includes significant advancements in all areas of ASP.Net like new data controls, enhanced code-behind model, caching features and many more.

Features of .NET Framework 2.0:

  • Enhancements to ASP.Net & ADO.Net
  • Authenticated Stream
  • Trace Data Filtering
  • I/O enhancement
  • Access Control List Support
  • Data Protection APIs
  • Programmatic control of caching
  • EventLog Enhancement
  • Console Class addition
  • FTP Support
  • Generics & Generic Collection
  • Serialization

.NET Framework 3.0:

  • CLR Version: 2.0
  • IDE Released: Visual Studio .Net 2005

Microsoft .Net Framework 3.0 embraced rich GUI capabilities that ensured a user-friendly way of communication with the users. It serves as the managed programming model as it comprises new sets of managed code APIs, which are an integral part of Windows Server 2008 and Windows Vista. The four core components included in this version are as follows:

  1. Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF): This component is mainly used for rich client applications and web application windows. It employs the Extended Application Markup Language (XAML) to build a rich user interface. This component supports to apply hardware accelerated and 2D & 3D graphics effects.
  2. Windows Communication Foundation (WCF) – This component aims to develop service-oriented applications – the distributed applications that run between servers and clients. It was formerly known as Indigo.
  3. Windows Workflow Foundations (WWF)– It provides an API, a rehostable designer and an in-process workflow engine to implement the process as workflow within your .Net apps.
  4. Windows CardSpace – This component aids users to manage as well as control their personal information. It is client software intends to aid users in the web service or website authentication by offering a digital identity in a secure, trusted and simple way.

Other Features of .Net Framework 3.0

  • Implicit Typed local variable
  • Object and Collection Initializers
  • Extension Methods
  • Implicitly Typed Arrays
  • Lambda Expressions
  • Anonymous Types
  • Auto-Implemented

.Net Framework 3.5

  • CLR Version: 2.0
  • IDE Released: Visual Studio .Net 2008

The .Net Framework 3.5 is the next incarnation of the Windows programming environment. Extending its predecessor .Net 3.0, version 3.5 goal is to aid the building of modern applications. .Net Framework 3.5 comprises some useful additions that affect several areas of version 3.0. For instance – there are notable enhancements in WCF, WPF, and WF. In addition, ASP.Net received Ajax support, and LINQ (Language –Integrated Query) become accessible to ADO.Net. Moreover, base class library encompassed various additions like unordered gatherings of unique elements and enhanced encryption support. The version 3.5 runs only on Windows Server 2003, Windows Server 2008, Windows XP and Windows Vista.

Other additional features of .Net Framework 3.5

  • NET Ajax-enabled Websites
  • ThreadPool Performance Enhancement
  • LatencyMode in Garbage Collection
  • TimeZoneInfo
  • Cryptography Enhancements
  • Socket Performance Enhancements
  • Peer-to-peer networking
  • Web Service Interoperability

.Net Framework 4.0

  • CLR Version: 4.0
  • IDE Released: Visual Studio .Net 2010

The new version of this Framework is not just an extension of features, but the .Net architecture has been examined and enhanced. The .NET 4.0 includes parallel extensions to enable parallel computing support that targets distributed or multi-core systems. This version is highly compatible with apps that are created with earlier versions, except for some modification that was done to enhance standard compliances, reliability, performance and correctness.

Features of the .Net Framework 4.0

  • Dynamic Language Runtime
  • Expanded Base Class
  • Parallel Computing
  • Managed Extensibility Framework
  • Covariance and Contravariance
  • BigInteger and Complex Numbers

.Net Framework 4.5

  • CLR Version: 4.0
  • IDE Released: Visual Studio .Net 2012

The .Net Framework version 4.5 is a highly compatible update to the .Net 4. By using this version together with programming languages like Visual Basic, C#, or F#, you can create your Windows applications. The .Net Framework 4.5 encompasses a significant framework and language enhancement for Visual Basic, C#, and F#. The version is also blended with control flow, web app scalability, and a responsive UI. The .Net 4.5 adds considerable expansions in other functional areas like Managed Extensibility Framework, ASP.NET, Windows Workflow Foundation, Windows Communication Foundation, and Windows Identity Foundation. This version provides better reliability, security, and performance.

Features of .Net Framework 4.5

  • Enhanced CLR 4.0
  • Support for Windows Store (Metro) application development
  • Built-in support to Async
  • Enhanced WPF, WCF, WWF
  • Native support for Zip compression
  • NET support enhanced

.Net Framework 4.5.1

The .Net Framework 4.5.1 was released on October 17, 2013, and here are the features added in this update:

  • Edit & Continue controls (64-bit)
  • Possibility to handle return values
  • Improved performance & reliability
  • Compact large object heaps
  • Trace & sample activities
  • Support for Automatic binding redirection
  • Expanded support for Windows store application development

.Net Framework 4.5.2

.Net 4.5.2 was released on May 5, 2014, and it includes the following additional features:

  • Enhancement for high DPI Scenarios
  • Expanded resizing Windows Forms controls
  • New Workflow features

.Net Framework 4.6

  • CLR Version: 4.0
  • IDE Released: Visual Studio .Net 2015

The .Net Framework 4.6 is an extremely compatible update to the .Net version 4, 4.5, 4.5.1 and 4.5.2. This version supports Windows Vista SP2, Windows 8, Windows 8.1, Windows Server 2012, Windows Server 2012 R2.

Features of .Net Framework 4.6

  • Introduced JIT compiler called RyuJIT
  • Supports Code page encodings
  • Includes open source .Net Framework packages
  • Event-tracking enhancement
  • HTTP/2 support

.Net Framework 4.6.1

.Net 4.6.1 was released on November 30, 2015, and here is the list of features added with this update:

  • Native Image Generator (NGEN) PDBs
  • Spell checking developments in WPF
  • Support for X509 certificates covering ECDSA

.Net Framework 4.6.2

.Net 4.6.2 was launched on August 2, 2016, and includes the following key features:

  • Element Initializers
  • Cryptography enhancements
  • Indexed Members
    • Collection initializers
    • Exception Filter
    • SignedXml support for SHA-2 hashing
    • Support for persisted-key symmetric encryption

.NET Framework 4.7

  • CLR Version: 4.0
  • IDE Released: Visual Studio .Net 2017

.Net Framework 4.7 is an in-place update of the earlier version .Net Framework 4.6.2; hence, applications compatible with the .Net 4.6.2 runs fine even after the upgradation to .Net 4.7. The version 4.7 adds Object Cache Extensibility with ASP.Net. This new addition offers developers tools, which replace default ASP.Net. Moreover, developers can replace memory monitoring, object cache store and memory limit reactions. The .Net framework 4.7 is equipped with reliability and performance enhancements.

Features of .Net Framework 4.7

  • Improved TLS (Transport Layer Security)
  • Enhanced Cryptography
  • More features for touch & style in WPF
  • Object Cache Extensibility
  • High DPI support
  • New implementation for WPF printing APIs

.Net Framework 4.7.1

This framework was released on October 17, 2017, and it includes the following features:

  • Performance improvement in garbage collection
  • Support for portable PDBs
  • Support for .NET Standard 2.0
  • Run-time feature detection
  • Support for read-only references

.Net Framework 4.7.2

.Net 4.7.2 was released on April 30, 2018, and it encompasses the following updates:

  • New overloads of DSA.Create and RSA.Create
  • Ephemeral keys Support
  • Support for same-site cookies
  • HttpClientHandler properties implementation

.Net Framework 4.8

The .Net Framework 4.8 extended on earlier versions of .Net 4.x by performing many fixes and including several additional features. Microsoft announced that the runtime of the version will be incorporated in the update of Window 10 2019. If you want to derive the advantages of this .Net latest version, you should install updated Windows 7 SPI on your machine.

Features of .Net Framework 4.8

  • JIT improvements
  • Updated ZLib
  • Reducing FIPS Impact on Cryptography
  • Antimalware Scanning for All Assemblies
  • Reducing FIPS Impact on Cryptography
  • Accessibility Enhancements

Since its first launch in 2002, the .Net Framework has developed into the leading platform for new Windows apps. Used widely by Microsoft, enterprises, and ISVs, the .Net Framework versions has proven their values. With all features, Microsoft .Net Framework represents the current state of the art in the development of applications.