Chronicling the 20 year journey of .NET - Analytics India Magazine .

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“We all knew .NET is gonna change a programmer’s life,” said Anders Hejlsberg, chief C# architect and decorated engineer at Microsoft in a celebration video of NET completing 20 years of its existence. Over the years, this pioneering software framework has developed a loyal fanbase and currently has over five million developers using it.

.NET also scores high on developer surveys. For example, in the Stack Overflow’s developer survey 2021, .NET emerged as the most loved framework by developers.

Image: Stack Overflow

Moreover, .NET made it to the top in the CNCF report of 30 highest velocity open-source projects on GitHub from 2020-2021.

Image: CNCF

On the 20th anniversary, Twitter was chock-full of reactions from techies recounting their first encounter with .NET.


.NET is an open source developer platform that allows users to write .NET applications in C#, F#, or Visual Basic. The code runs natively on any compatible OS in .NET. The free platform is used to build for web, mobile, desktop, games, and IoT.

The latest version .NET 6, dubbed “the fastest .NET yet” by Microsoft, was released last November. It was also the first release that natively supported Apple Silicon (Arm64).



Released in 2002, .NET was R allowed the developers to build Windows Forms and Web (ASP.NET) applications on C# and Visual Basic.

.NET Framework provides the foundation for the .NET XML Web services. “Visual Studio .NET gives developers a toolkit to build such Web services and Web services-based applications.

Beth Massi, Marketing Director, .NET said,”With the rise of the internet, the world saw an easier way to share information. Technology shifted towards distributed systems that communicated over the internet. .NET was built for this internet revolution.”


F# comes into the picture

2005 was another landmark year as F#, the first functional-based .NET programming language was developed by Don Syme from Microsoft Research. F# is based on the functional programming language OCaml and is used for building web, cloud and data-science applications. In 2008, Microsoft released the source code for ASP.NET MVC.

Image: Similartech


Goes open source

2014 was a landmark year in .NET’s journey. At Build 2014 held in April, Microsoft announced “Roslyn” (.NET Compiler Platform) open source. In November, .NET Core was also made open source along with the framework libraries.

According to Microsoft, the two big reasons behind the open source move were to lay the foundation for a cross platform as well as to build a stronger ecosystem.

.NET foundation launched

The .NET foundation was also announced in 2014 to promote open source software development. The independent, non-profit organisation was established to support an innovative, commercially friendly, open-source ecosystem around the .NET platform.

Image: .NET Foundation


.NET Core 1.0 released

In June 2016, .NET Core 1.0, ASP.NET Core 1.0 and Entity Framework Core 1.0 were made available on Windows, OS X and Linux along with .NET Core runtime, libraries and the ASP.NET Core libraries. The Visual Studio team also released Visual Studio 2015 Update 3 along with it. Consequently, .NET Core 2.0 was released in 2017 and .NET Core 3.0 in 2019.

Xamarin acquisition

In February 2016, .NET acquired mobile app development platform provider Xamarin. The combination of Xamarin, Visual Studio, Visual Studio Team Services, and Azure provided a complete mobile app development solution.