May 23, 2024


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C# and the NET Framework: What’s the difference

C# and the NET Framework: What’s the difference

C# and the NET Framework are two integral technologies in the field of software development, both launched by Microsoft technologies. 

While they are often discussed together, they serve distinct purposes and have their own unique features, advantages and differences with each other. 

In this C# vs .NET, we’ll delve into features of .NET and C#, exploring their differences and features.

What is .NET and C#?


.NET is a free, cross-platform, open-source framework developed by Microsoft. It provides a comprehensive programming model foundation for building various types of applications, including web, desktop, mobile, cloud, and IoT applications. 

Key Components of .NET:

  1. Common Language Runtime (CLR): CLR is the heart and soul of .NET. It provides various services, including automatic memory management (garbage collection), exception handling, and cross-language compatibility and integration. CLR ensures that .NET applications run efficiently and securely across different platforms.
  1. Base Class Library (BCL): BCL is a collection of reusable classes, interfaces, and value types that provide essential functionality for .NET applications. It includes classes for working with collections, file I/O, networking, etc. reducing the need for developers to reinvent everything.
  1. ASP.NET Core: ASP.NET Core is a cross-platform, high-performance framework for building web applications. It offers robust support for building modern web applications using MVC (Model-View-Controller) architecture, Web API, and Razor Pages. ASP.NET Core applications can run on Windows, Linux, and macOS.
  1. Entity Framework Core: Entity Framework Core is an object-relational mapping (ORM) framework that simplifies data access in .NET applications. It enables developers to work with databases using strongly-typed .NET objects, eliminating the need for tedious and error-prone manual SQL queries.

Is .NET C#? if not, what is relationship between C# and .NET?


.NET is a runtime environment, for developing applications. It includes a large class library, known as Framework Class Library (FCL) along with other in-built repositories. The code written in one language can interact with code written in another language. .NET was created to support the development and running of applications written in languages like C#, VB.NET, and F#. 



  • Cross-platform— It supports multiple platforms and programming languages, which is an advantage.
  • Flexibility due to its modular design, .NET-based applications are flexible and easy to use and maintain.
  • Performance — .NET applications have high performance.
  • Active community — over six million .NET developers worldwide, you can get help and support with any issue.


  • High license cost — For large projects you will need many tools that are not free — for instance, Visual Studio IDE.


C# (pronounced “C sharp”) is a modern, object-oriented programming language developed by Microsoft. It is designed for building robust, scalable, and maintainable applications for the .NET platform. C# combines the power of C++ with the simplicity of Visual Basic, making it an ideal choice for developing a wide range of applications.

Key Features of C#:

  1. Strongly Typed: C# is a statically typed language, which means that every variable and expression has a type that is known at compile time. This helps catch many errors at compile time rather than at runtime, resulting in more reliable code.
  2. Object-Oriented: C# supports object-oriented programming paradigms such as encapsulation, inheritance, and polymorphism. This allows developers to create modular, reusable code that is easier to understand and maintain.
  3. Modern Language Features: C# continues to evolve with each new version, introducing modern language features such as async/await for asynchronous programming, LINQ (Language-Integrated Query) for querying data sources, and pattern matching for more concise and expressive code.
  4. Integration with .NET: C# seamlessly integrates with the .NET framework, allowing developers to leverage the full power of .NET libraries and tools. This tight integration enables rapid development and ensures compatible API development services with other .NET languages such as VB.NET and F#.


  • Easy to learn and use — C# has inherited many features from the C-family languages anyone familiar with C++, C, Java and JavaScript can learn C# easily.
  • Fast development speed because of features such as static typing, developers can write code much faster with C# than with other languages.
  • Scalability — C# allows developers to adjust and expand functionality without compromising quality and reliability.
  • Efficiency and flexibility —Object-oriented, C# is highly efficient and flexible language, which simplifies the development process.
  • Cross-platform —software written in C# can run on various operating systems.
  • Active community —open community support and engagement. 


  • .NET dependent — C# is initially created for the .NET ecosystem and totally depends on it.

Difference between C# and .NET

C# is the primary language used for developing applications on the .NET platform. While .NET development services support multiple programming languages such as VB.NET and F#, C# is the most widely adopted language due to its simplicity, performance, and extensive tooling support. C# vs C#.NET often confuses people, lets compare.

The key difference between C# and C# .NET span multiple aspects:

1. Role: In simple language, it is a platform which has embedded inbuilt facilities like libraries, languages, etc. to facilitate software development.

  1. Development Tools and IDEs: To code in C#, developers use various Integrated Development Environments (IDEs) and tools, such as Microsoft’s Visual Studio. .NET, meanwhile, is supported and used within the IDE but is not directly related to the tools used for code development.

    3. Cross-Platform Capabilities: C# is designed to work seamlessly within the ambit of .NET framework, C# retains its language properties regardless of the platform, while .NET facilitates the execution of the application across different platforms.
  2. Compile and Execute: C# code is compiled into an Intermediate Language (IL), which is then executed by the .NET runtime framework. 

Thus, C# needs the .NET platform to transform its code into a running application using CLR (Common Language Runtime).

In summary, C# and NET are integral components of Microsoft’s ecosystem for building modern applications, but while there are some similarities, there are differences too.

While .NET provides a comprehensive framework, C# serves as the primary language for developing applications on the .NET platform. Together, they offer developers a powerful and flexible toolkit for building a wide range of applications.