.NET is a platform developed by Microsoft that can be used to build applications that can run on desktops, websites and mobile devices.
.NET is a popular platform for building primarily Windows applications. It helps developers build applications effectively, thanks to its support for multiple languages and access to things which make developers’ lives easier such as abundant libraries and APIs.
What is it?
.NET is primarily a platform that developers use to create applications that can run on desktop, mobile or web devices. It is a development environment that includes tools, libraries and other components.
The .NET name has been attached to a number of initiatives from Microsoft since it debuted in the early 2000s. As of November 2020, the name will be associated with Microsoft’s .NET 5 — successor to .NET Core.
What's in for you?
For organizations that invested in the Microsoft ecosystem, .NET is a solid choice as a development platform. It has a large community of developers and extensive libraries and APIs. That means your developers have a wealth of resources at their disposal when building applications — and that should mean they’re more effective and productive.
.NET gives developers a choice of languages to use and the applications they build can be run across multiple platforms, such as mobile, web — and even for smart watches or TVs.
What are the trade-offs?
.NET can also be expensive: while it is ostensibly an open-source platform, it typically requires investment in other parts of the Microsoft ecosystem to get the most out of it — for instance, the Visual Studio IDE. And while .NET is open source, many parts of that ecosystem are not.