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Eight Important .NET Concepts Every Developer Should Know

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Within a short span of time, Microsoft .NET framework has become hugely popular among programmers as a powerful environment to develop applications by availing advantages of different programming languages and libraries together. Along with window-based applications, the technology is also used widely to a variety of powerful and robust web applications.


At the same time, a developer also has option to use the web service standards to easily connect the existing and new applications with software and services across a number of application, platforms and coding languages. The seamless integration of applications further make it easier to deliver information and content anytime and anywhere. If you are planning to build applications on the .NET platform, it becomes essential to understand some of its key concepts.


8 Key .NET Concepts Each Developer Must Know


  • Stack: As a data structure, stack allows you to add and remove objects at the same position. It follows the Last in First out (LIFO) method of data storing, and initially removes the last object added to the stack. A stack can be manipulated using several functions including Push(element), Pop(), Peek() and IsEmpty(). Each time the function returns, the block becomes unused. You have to call the function again to reuse the block. Also, you have options to implement stack in a number of ways. For instance, you can define the maximum size of the stack either at the compilation time or at the run time.


  • Heap: Many programmers use heap to set memory aside for dynamic allocation. Unlike a stack, a heap does not require you to allocate and deallocate blocks using an enforced pattern. Based on your needs, you can allocate and free a block from the heap any time. However, it is essential for a developer to motor the allocated and free parts of the heap at a specific point of time. You can use custom heap allocators to control the performance of a heap to suit a specific usage pattern. While a thread can have its own stack, the entire application can have only one heap.


  • Value types: When you are learning .NET technologies, it is important to understand the key value types. A value type holds the data as well as memory in a single location. However, the value types can include specific data types including Char, Date, Boolean and all numeric data types. These also include all types of structures, despite their members being reference types. Also, the enumerations are also regarded as value types, ad their underlying type is always Short, UShort, Long, ULong, Integer, Uinteger Byte or Sbyte.


  • Reference types: Unlike the value types, the reference types do not hold any real data. These types rather contain a pointer to another memory location where the data is hold. Normally, reference types include String, Delegates and Class Types like Form. All arrays are also included in reference types despite their individual elements being value types. However, there are a number of values that cannot be included in the value types or reference types. As no data type can be specified for Events, Modules, Namespaces, Properties, Procedures, Variables, Constants, and Fields, these are not included either in value or reference types.

  • Boxing: The value types are treated as objects using boxing and unboxing. You can use boxing to package a value type inside an instance of the Object reference type. After boxing the value type, you can store it as part of the garbage collection heap. The conversion will further allow you to link between the value types and reference types.


  • Unboxing: You have to use unboxing, on the other hand, to extract the value type from the Object. However, boxing and unboxing are considered to be expensive processes computationally. Each time you box a value type, it becomes essential to allocate and construct a fresh object. Similarly, you can use a cast for unboxing that is also computationally expensive. But you can use boxing and unboxing to form a unified data type system where each type of data can be ultimately treated as an object.


  • Signatures: Each .NET developer has to use signature to characterize methods, indexers, operators and instance constructors. However, each element must be specified through distinct signatures. For instance, the signature of a method must include its name, along with the value, reference or output of each formal parameters. On the other hand, the signature of an instance needs to include the value, reference or output of its formal parameters, whereas the signature of an indexer must include the type of each formal parameter.


  • Overloading: Members in classes, interfaces and structures are also overloaded using signatures as an overloading mechanism. By overloading am method, a programmer can declare multiple methods wth the same name in a single class, interface or struct. Similarly, the instance constructors can be overloaded to allow developers to declare multiple instance constructors inside a class or struct. Multiple operators can also be declares in a class or struct by overloading operators. These mechanisms also make it easier for programmers to manipulate the codes without putting any extra effort.


Microsoft has made it convenient for beginners to understand .NET concepts by referring to online resources and documentation. The documentation also clearly explains the concepts with relevant examples and case studies. Following these case studies of application delivery in various ASP.NET development companies also helps a lot in understanding the actual implementation issues.


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