Microsoft .NET framework is a software framework for Microsoft software including Windows Operating Systems. It includes a large library including many different programming languages. The basic purpose of .NET Framework is to run apps that have been developed using Microsoft technologies. This is synonymous to its competitor Java Virtual Machine which is required to be installed for running Java applications.
Microsoft .NET framework was initially released in 2002 and now it has become a standard for almost all Microsoft related development work. The latest major release .NET framework 4.0 was released in April, 2010. .NET Framework 4 offline installer can be downloaded at the end of this article.
The base class library provides functions for user interface, database connectivity, network and web application development. Like Java, the programs developed in .NET framework require a base software to be install which interprets the programs and communicates with the hardware interface. This base software is called Common Library Runtime (CLR).
The latest version of .NET Framework is 4.0.30319.1. .NET Framework 4.0 includes the following improvements:
- Improvements in Common Language Runtime (CLR) and Base Class Library (BCL)
- Innovations in the Visual Basic and C# languages, for example statement lambdas, implicit line continuations, dynamic dispatch, and named/optional parameters.
- Improvements in Data Access and Modeling
- Enhancements to ASP.NET
- Improvements in Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF)
- Improvements to Windows Workflow (WF) that enable developers to better host and interact with workflows.
- Improvements to Windows Communication Foundation (WCF) such as support for WCF Workflow Services enabling workflow programs with messaging activities, correlation support
- Innovative new parallel-programming features such as parallel loop support, Task Parallel Library (TPL), Parallel LINQ (PLINQ), and coordination data structures which let developers harness the power of multi-core processors
The system requirements including hardware and software requirements for installing .NET Framework 4 can be read from the Microsoft download page. But if you want to download the standalone installer without going to Microsoft page, just click the link below to start the download process.
Download .NET Framework 4 Offline Installer (48.11 MB) [Direct Download]
You may also like to see .NET Framework 4.5 Developer Preview
Please note that .NET Framework 4 does not install previous versions of the framework like .NET Framework 3.5. So if you need the earlier versions to be installed in your computer, you will need to download them separately.