A brief discussion on common tech terms used with .NET

.NET is a software framework that is designed to develop software applications by Microsoft. In simpler terms, it provides a controlled programming environment where codes written in other programming languages can be compiled and executed. The first version (1.0) of .NET was released in the year 2002. It provides many class libraries known as Framework Class Library (FCL). It also offers services like memory management, networking, security, and type safety that can be used to develop form-based applications, web-based applications, and web services. .NET framework facilitates many features that .NET developers can take advantage of. In turn, helping your company in reducing development and operational cost. 

Knowing common tech terms provides .NET developers with credibility, broadens their knowledge base, and allows them to ask the right questions when needed. Therefore in this article, we will clarify the meanings of some common tech terms that frequently appear when using .NET.

Common terms used by .NET developers 

  • AOT – 

AOT stands for Ahead-Of-Time compiler. AOT compiler is used to translate intermediate language, also known as IL to machine code. It also compiles the application as a whole, so the whole program is analyzed, and a single executable is produced. AOT compiles before the code is executed, usually performed on a different machine than the one where the code will run. Hence compile time is not a part of run time in the case of AOT.

  • App model – 

The app model is all the framework components that allow .NET developers to develop different types of applications. Here are a few examples – 

  • ASP.NET – It is used to build web applications and web APIs.
  • Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF) – It is a graphical user interface (GUI) for windows desktop applications.
  • Entity Framework (EF) – It is ORM (Object Relational Mapper) that allows .NET developers to work with databases easily. It allows the creation of objects and methods that can be used to create connections and manipulate databases.
  • Windows Communication Foundation (WCF) – Windows Communication Foundation or WCF allows better reliability and security. With WCF, .NET developers only need to make a few minor changes in the configuration file and that is enough to use the security model and alter the binding.
  • Windows Workflow Foundation (WF) – Windows Workflow Foundation or WF offers a foundation that allows .NET developers to create unified and scalable applications. 
  • Windows Forms (WinForms) – Unlike WPF, WinForms can be controlled easily, is less time consuming, and is less tricky. 
  • ASP.NET – 

ASP.Net is a web development platform that offers services like a programming model, a comprehensive software infrastructure, state management, caching, and more that allows .NET developers to build robust web applications. 

  • ASP.NET core – 

ASP.NET core is the newer and improved version of the ASP.NET web-adapted .NET framework. It offers richer functionality, a more comfortable interface, new libraries, and many other features. One key difference between ASP.NET core and ASP.NET is that ASP.NET core is cross-platform that allows .NET developers to write and run applications on macOS, Linux, and Windows. In contrast, ASP.NET works only on Windows.

  • assembly – 

Depending on the project you choose, an assembly can be either a .dll file or a .exe file. It is a collection of APIs that applications or other assemblies can call to form a logical unit of functionality.

  • BCL – 

BCL stands for Base Class Library. It is a set of libraries that comprises classes, namespaces, interfaces, and value types that dot NET programmers can use to build .NET applications.

  • CLR – 

CLR stands for Common Language Runtime. It refers to the runtime environment of the .NET Framework that manages and executes the code written in any .NET programming language. In simpler terms, it converts code written by .NET developers into native code that the CPU can execute.

  • Cross-platform – 

Cross-platform enables dotNET core developers to develop and execute an application on multiple operating systems, such as Linux, Windows, and iOS, without rewriting the whole code specifically for each platform. It supports reusability and consistency between applications running on different operating systems.

  • Ecosystem – 

An ecosystem consists of all the runtime software, development tools, and community resources that allow .NET developers to develop and execute applications. 

  • Framework – 

A framework is a comprehensive collection of libraries, a compiler, and other features used during the development process. 

  • GC – 

GC stands for Garbage collector. It is an implementation and management tool for the allocation of memory for your application. It also releases any memory that is occupied by an object but not in use.

  • IL – 

IL stands for Intermediate language. It is designed to be used by compilers for the .NET Framework to compile down the higher-level language into a hardware-agnostic instruction set.

  • JIT – 

JIT stands for Just-in-time compiler. Just like AOT, it also compiles IL to machine code. However, unlike AOT, it compiles on the same device where the code will run. Hence compile time is a part of the run time.

  • Mono – 

Mono is an open-source, cross-platform software platform that allows NET developers to create and deploy cross-platform versions of their applications.

  • .NET SDK – 

It is one of the concepts where dot NET developer skills can be put to the test. It is a collection of libraries and tools that allow .NET developers to create applications and libraries. Basically, It is a collection of things that are required to make the development of .NET applications much easier. 

  • .NET Standard – 

.NET Standard is an API specification that allows .NET developers to define what Base Class Libraries must be implemented.

  • NGEN – 

It stands for Native Image Generation. It allows .NET developers to improve the performance of managed applications. It creates native images that include code and installs them into the native image cache on the local computer where the code will be executed.


This article walked you through the comprehensive list of terms and acronyms that frequently appears when working with the .NET framework. Hence, .NET developers need to be familiar with each of them. If you want to learn more about these terms, you can head to Microsoft’s documentation.

Author Bio –

Anupriya Singh

Anupriya is a content writer who is passionate about writing on a variety of topics. When not writing, you can find her reading or sketching.