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Dot Net FAQs

Dot Net FAQs

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Published by: api-3841500 on Oct 18, 2008
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.NET Framework Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ tries to answer some commonly asked questions about the fundamentals of the .NET
Framework - topics like assemblies, garbage collection, security, interop with COM, and remoting. The
most commonly-used parts of the class library are also covered. Other aspects of the .NET Framework
such as ASP.NET, ADO.NET and WinForms are not covered.

This FAQ was inspired by discussions on the DOTNET mailing list. The list has now been split into
several DOTNET-X lists - for details seehttp: //discus s.develop.com/.
Christophe Lauer has translated the FAQ into French - you can find it athttp: // www. dotnet-
Royal has translated the FAQ into Chinese - you can find it at
Disclaimer: The content of this FAQ is just my interpretation of information gleaned from various

sources, including postings to the DOTNET-X mailing lists and various MS documents. The answers
are not necessarily correct or up-to-date. Note that this FAQ has no official connection to the DOTNET-
X mailing lists, or to Developmentor (the company who host the lists), or to Microsoft.

Revision history:
Added link to Christophe Lauer's French translation.
AddedSeriali zation section
Overhaul of Resources section, including new Recommended Books
andW eblogs topics.
Minor update to reflect arrival of version 1.
Updated all the code samples to be fully compatible with Beta 2.
Minor update to reflect arrival of Beta 2.
Added Tracing sub-section to the Class Library section.
Updated for arrival of Beta 1.
Started Class Library section.
Added section on IL.
Added section on Code Access Security.
Started revision history.
29-Jul-00 to 28-Aug-
Miscellaneous (unrecorded) updates.
Posted first version.

o1.1 What is .NET?
o1.2 Does .NET only apply to people building web-sites?
o1.3 When was .NET announced?
o1.4 When was the first version of .NET released?
o1.5 What tools can I use to develop .NET applications?

o1.6 What platforms does the .NET Framework run on?
o1.7 What languages does the .NET Framework support?
o1.8 Will the .NET Framework go through a standardisation process?

2. Basic terminology

o2.1 What is the CLR?
o2.2 What is the CTS?
o2.3 What is the CLS?
o2.4 What is IL?
o2.5 What is C#?
o2.6 What does 'managed' mean in the .NET context?
o2.7 What is reflection?


o3.1 What is an assembly?
o3.2 How can I produce an assembly?
o3.3 What is the difference between a private assembly and a shared assembly?
o3.4 How do assemblies find each other?
o3.5 How does assembly versioning work?

4. Application Domains

o4.1 What is an Application Domain?
o4.2 How does an AppDomain get created?
o4.3 Can I write my own .NET host?

5. Garbage Collection
o5.1 What is garbage collection?
o5.2 Is it true that objects don't always get destroyed immediately when the last
reference goes away?

o5.3 Why doesn't the .NET runtime offer deterministic destruction?
o5.4 Is the lack of deterministic destruction in .NET a problem?
o5.5 Does non-deterministic destruction affect the usage of COM objects from

managed code?
o5.6 I've heard that Finalize methods should be avoided. Should I implement Finalize
on my class?
o5.7 Do I have any control over the garbage collection algorithm?
o5.8 How can I find out what the garbage collector is doing?

o6.1 What is serialization?
o6.2 Does the .NET Framework have in-built support for serialization?
o6.3 I want to serialize instances of my class. Should I use XmlSerializer,

SoapFormatter or BinaryFormatter?

o6.4 Can I customise the serialization process?
o6.5 Why is XmlSerializer so slow?
o6.6 Why do I get errors when I try to serialize a Hashtable?
o6.7 XmlSerializer is throwing a generic "There was an error reflecting MyClass" error.

How do I find out what the problem is?

o7.1 What are attributes?
o7.2 Can I create my own metadata attributes?
o7.3 Can I create my own context attributes?

8. Code Access Security

o8.1 What is Code Access Security (CAS)?
o8.2 How does CAS work?
o8.3 Who defines the CAS code groups?
o8.4 How do I define my own code group?
o8.5 How do I change the permission set for a code group?
o8.6 Can I create my own permission set?
o8.7 I'm having some trouble with CAS. How can I diagnose my problem?
o8.8 I can't be bothered with all this CAS stuff. Can I turn it off?

9. Intermediate Language (IL)
o9.1 Can I look at the IL for an assembly?
o9.2 Can source code be reverse-engineered from IL?

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