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.NET is a free, cross-platform, open source developer platform for building many different types of applications. With .NET, you can use multiple languages, editors, and libraries to build for web, mobile, desktop, games, and IoT.

You can write .NET apps in C#, F#, or Visual Basic:

  • C# is a simple, modern, object-oriented, and type-safe programming language.
  • F# is a programming language that makes it easy to write succinct, robust, and performant code.
  • Visual Basic is an approachable language with a simple syntax for building type-safe, object-oriented apps.

Whether you’re working in C#, F#, or Visual Basic, your code will run natively on any compatible OS. Different .NET implementations, such as .NET Core, .NET Framework and Xamarin/Mono can handle the heavy lifting for you.

.NET Standard is a base set of APIs that are common to all .NET implementations. Each implementation can also expose additional APIs that are specific to the operating systems it runs on. For example, .NET Framework is a Windows-only .NET implementation that includes APIs for accessing the Windows Registry.

To extend functionality, Microsoft and others maintain a healthy package ecosystem built on .NET Standard. NuGet is a package manager built specifically for .NET that contains over 90,000 packages.

Resources

Get started with .NET

With Microsoft Learn, you can kick off your journey into .NET with easy to understand training – and best of all, it’s free! This is the perfect way to work through new tools.

Learn more about .NET

Already using .NET and want to go further? Whether it’s learning something new within .NET or becoming certified, there’s plenty more to explore and discover.

Further resources