VB.NET does not exist in isolation, but has a close connection with the underlying .NET Framework. In this chapter, you received an orientation to the overall architecture and features of .NET.
Microsoft .NET is a new platform that sits on top of the operating system and provides many capabilities for building and deploying desktop and Web-based applications. .NET has many features that will create a much more robust Windows operating system.
The .NET Framework includes the Common Language Runtime (CLR), the .NET Framework Class Library, the Common Type System (CTS), the .NET languages, and Visual Studio.NET.
The CLR manages the execution of code and provides useful services. The design goals of the CLR included simple application development, safety, simple deployment, support of multiple languages, and good performance.
.NET uses managed code that runs in a safe environment under the CLR. .NET compilers translate source code into Microsoft Intermediate Language (MSIL), which is translated at runtime into native code by a just-in-time (JIT) compiler.
An assembly is a grouping of types and resources that work together as a logical unit. Types and the CTS are the heart of the CLR. Garbage collection is used by the CLR to automatically reclaim unreferenced data.
In Chapter 2, we will take our first steps in VB.NET programming.