Lesson 39 - Understanding the .NET Framework and Compilation

Tutorial Series: Free C# Fundamentals via ASP.NET Web Apps

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We’ve touched upon several aspects of the .NET Framework, along with C# as a language, however we haven’t looked at how these two relate to one another. In most cases, it’s not important to think about all of this when you’re programming. Rather, the point of understanding these details, on a basic level, is to have a working knowledge of how the various aspects of C# and the .NET Framework operate.

At the basis, C# is a programming language that is the foundation for the .NET Framework, which in turn is a library of functionality (pre-built Class Libraries) that you can incorporate into your C# applications. For example, whenever we’re working with ASP.NET-related classes, we’re incorporating the System.Web namespace containing a plethora of classes related to all types of ASP.NET functionality. You can find these Framework Class Libraries by navigating to the folder that stores the associated .dll files:


One of the reasons for why the Class Libraries are separated into individual .dll files is to reduce performance load, allowing you to choose only the Libraries you need for a particular task.


Note that the System.Web.dll Library is one of the largest in the Framework. It’s been a contention amongst some developers that this is too big for any single Library and should ideally be broken up into sub-libraries. While 5,222KB might not seem like a lot, loading this every time a page runs on a remote Server could represent a significant hit to its bandwidth.

In addition to the Framework Class Library, the .NET Framework also contains the runtime environment known as the Common Language Runtime (CLR). The CLR operates as a protective bubble – kind of like a Virtual Machine – that wraps around your high-level application code and executes it down at a lower machine-readable level. As the name suggests, this allows for different languages supported by the CLR to essentially become one-and-the-same at the lower computational level. The runtime functionality of the CLR manages low-level interfacing with hardware and memory states, freeing up your resources as a programmer to focus on solving problems having to do with the application’s main purpose.

As a side-note, you might be interested in creating your own custom Class Libraries – boiling-down your code into a .dll Assembly and allowing you to reuse it across various projects. You can compile your project into a Class Library using the csc.exe Compiler found in the following folder:


This Compiler creates an .exe or .dll .NET Assembily which is comprised of code that’s been compiled-down to what’s called an Intermediate Language (IL). The CLR is then able to run this IL – within the “protected bubble” – when the application is started.


The main difference between.exe and .dll Assemblies is that an .exe has a programmatic entry-point to kick-off and run the code when accessed, whereas a .dll just stores code so that it can be referenced elsewhere in some other code.

It might be helpful to take a look at the ildasm.exe tool, which allows you to disassemble your Assembly back into a somewhat human-readable format:


Running HeroMonster.dll through the ildasm.exe tool, we can see how the code was constructed even after it’s been compiled down into an Assembly:


Looking closer at the Attack() method, we get to peak at the resulting Intermediate Language (IL) that the original code was compiled down to:


Related Articles in this Tutorial:

Lesson 1 - Series Introduction

Lesson 2 - Installing Visual Studio 2015

Lesson 3 - Building Your First Web App

Lesson 4 - Understanding What You Just Did

Lesson 5 - Working with Projects in Visual Studio

Lesson 6 - Simple Web Page Formatting in Visual Studio

Challenge 1

Solution 1

Lesson 7 - Variables and Data Types

Lesson 8 - Data Type Conversion

Lesson 9 - Arithmetic Operators

Lesson 10 - C# Syntax Basics

Challenge 2 - ChallengeSimpleCalculator

Solution - ChallengeSimpleCalculator

Lesson 11 - Conditional If Statements

Lesson 12 - The Conditional Ternary Operator

Challenge 3 - ChallengeConditionalRadioButton

Solution - Challenge Conditional RadioButton

Lesson 13 - Comparison and Logical Operators

Lesson 13 Challenge - First Papa Bob's Website

Solution - Challenge First Papa Bob's Website

Lesson 14 - Working with Dates and Times

Lesson 15 - Working With Spans of Time

Lesson 16 - Working with the Calendar Server Control

Challenge 4 - Challenge Days Between Dates

Solution - Challenge Days Between Dates

Lesson 17 - Page_Load and Page.IsPostBack

Lesson 18 - Setting a Break Point and Debugging

Lesson 19 - Formatting Strings

Challenge 5 - Challenge Epic Spies Assignment

Solution - Challenge Epic Spies Assignment

Lesson 20 - Maintaining State with ViewState

Lesson 21 - Storing Values in Arrays

Lesson 22 - Understanding Multidimensional Arrays

Lesson 23 - Changing the Length of an Array

Challenge 6 - Challenge Epic Spies Asset Tracker

Solution - Challenge Epic Spies Asset Tracker

Lesson 24 - Understanding Variable Scope

Lesson 25 - Code Blocks and Nested If Statements

Lesson 26 - Looping with the For Iteration Statement

Challenge 7 - Challenge For Xmen Battle Count

Solution - Challenge For Xmen Battle Count

Lesson 27 - Looping with the while() & do...while() Iteration Statements

Lesson 28 - Creating and Calling Simple Helper Methods

Lesson 29 - Creating Methods with Input Parameters

Lesson 30 - Returning Values from Methods

Lesson 31 - Creating Overloaded Methods

Lesson 32 - Creating Optional Parameters

Lesson 33 - Creating Names Parameters

Lesson 34 - Creating Methods with Output Parameters

Challenge 8 - Challenge Postal Calculator Helper Methods

Solution - Challenge Postal Calculator Helper Methods

Mega Challenge Casino

Solution - Mega Challenge Casino

Lesson 35 - Manipulating Strings

Challenge 9 - Phun With Strings

Solution - Challenge Phun With Strings

Lesson 36 - Introduction to Classes and Objects

Challenge - Hero Monster Classes Part 1

Solution - Hero Monster Classes Part 1

Challenge - Hero Monster Classes Part 2

Solution - Challenge Hero Monster Classes Part 2

Lesson 37 - Creating Class Files Creating Cohesive Classes and Code Navigation

Lesson 38 - Understanding Object References and Object Lifetime

Lesson 39 - Understanding the .NET Framework and Compilation

Lesson 40 - Namespaces and Using Directives

Lesson 41 - Creating Class Libraries and Adding References to Assemblies

Lesson 42 - Accessibility Modifiers, Fields and Properties

Lesson 43 - Creating Constructor Methods

Lesson 44 - Naming Conventions for Identifiers

Lesson 45 - Static vs Instance Members

Challenge 10 - Challenge Simple Darts

Solution - Challenge Simple Darts

Lesson 46 - Working with the List Collection

Lesson 47 - Object Initializers

Lesson 48 - Collection Initializers

Lesson 49 - Working with the Dictionary Collection

Lesson 50 - Looping with the foreach Iteration Statement

Lesson 51 - Implicitly-Typed Variables with the var Keyword

Challenge 11 - Challenge Student Courses

Solution - Challenge Student Courses

Mega Challenge War

Solution - Mega Challenge War

Lesson 52 - Creating GUIDs

Lesson 53 - Working with Enumerations

Lesson 54 - Understanding the switch() Statement

Lesson 55 - First Pass at the Separation of Concerns Principle

Lesson 56 - Understanding Exception Handling

Lesson 57 - Understanding Global Exception Handling

Lesson 58 - Understanding Custom Exceptions

Lesson 59 - Creating a Database in Visual Studio

Lesson 60 - Creating an Entity Data Model

Lesson 61 - Displaying the DbSet Result in an ASP.NET GridView

Lesson 62 - Implementing a Button Command in a GridView

Lesson 63 - Using a Tools-Centric Approach to Building a Database Application

Lesson 64 - Using a Maintenance-Driven Approach to Building a Database Application

Lesson 65 - Creating a New Instance of an Entity and Persisting it to the Database

Lesson 66 - Package Management with NuGet

Lesson 67 - NuGet No-Commit Workflow

Lesson 68 - Introduction the Twitter Bootstrap CSS Framework

Lesson 69 - Mapping Enum Types to Entity Properties in the Framework Designer

Lesson 70 - Deploying the App to Microsoft Azure Web Services Web Apps

Papa Bob's Mega Challenge

Papa Bob's Mega Solution Part 1 - Setting up the Solution

Papa Bob's Mega Solution Part 2 - Adding an Order to the Database

Papa Bob's Mega Solution Part 3 - Passing an Order from the Presentation Layer

Papa Bob's Mega Solution Part 4 - Creating the Order Form

Papa Bob's Mega Solution Part 5 - Adding Enums

Papa Bob's Mega Solution Part 6 - Creating an Order with Validation

Papa Bob's Mega Solution Part 7 - Calculating the Order Price

Papa Bob's Mega Solution Part 8 - Displaying the Price to the User

Papa Bob's Mega Solution Part 9 - Creating the Order Management Page


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