Getting started_: what is the .NET Compact Framework


You have been using the Microsoft .NET Compact Framework (let's call it Compact Framework for short) to write your first Pocket PC application, a browser app and even a Sudoku solver app! Let's look at what the Compact Framework really is about.

As the Compact Framework is a subset of the .NET Framework, let's look at the bigger .NET Framework first.

Think of the .NET Framework as the Microsoft equivalent of the Java Software Development Kit. Just like Java, the .NET Framework provides the developer a set of APIs with which he/she writes code that are executed in a "virtual machine". In .NET lingo, such code is called managed code, and the "virtual machine" is known as Common Language Runtime (CLR). In short, the CLR manages the execution of the code, and does all the resource management, code access security, threading, type safety, and all necessary plumbing, so that you as the programmer can churn out code more productively, focusing on the all-important business logic, and without having to worry too much about the nitty gritty.

As for the Compact Framework, it does to Windows CE devices what its grand uncle .NET Framework does to desktops and servers. Think of it as a platform for developing managed code to be run on mobile devices.

The Compact Framework is currently in version 2.0. Here's a list of what are the new features version 2.0 offers.

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