What is .NET?

.NET is an open source developer platform, created by Microsoft, for building many different types of applications.


.NET is a free, cross-platform, open source developer platform for building many different types of applications.

With .NET, you can use multiple languages, editors, and libraries to build for web, mobile, desktop, games, and IoT.


You can write .NET apps in C#, F#, or Visual Basic.

  • C# is a simple, modern, object-oriented, and type-safe programming language.
  • F# is a cross-platform, open-source, functional programming language for .NET. It also includes object-oriented and imperative programming.
  • Visual Basic is an approachable language with a simple syntax for building type-safe, object-oriented apps.

Learn about .NET Languages

Cross Platform

Whether you're working in C#, F#, or Visual Basic, your code will run natively on any compatible OS. Different .NET implementations handle the heavy lifting for you:

  • .NET Core is a cross-platform .NET implementation for websites, servers, and console apps on Windows, Linux, and macOS.
  • .NET Framework supports websites, services, desktop apps, and more on Windows.
  • Xamarin/Mono is a .NET implementation for running apps on all the major mobile operating systems.

One consistent API

.NET Standard is a base set of APIs that are common to all .NET implementations.

Each implementation can also expose additional APIs that are specific to the operating systems it runs on. For example, .NET Framework is a Windows-only .NET implementation that includes APIs for accessing the Windows Registry.

Learn about .NET Standard


To extend functionality, Microsoft and others maintain a healthy package ecosystem built on .NET Standard.

NuGet is a package manager built specifically for .NET that contains over 90,000 packages.

100,000+ OSS contributions 3,700+ OSS company contributors

Active community and open-source

.NET is open source and under the .NET Foundation. The .NET Foundation is an independent organization to foster open development and collaboration around the .NET ecosystem.

Because .NET is open source, you can join the thousands of developers and companies already contributing to the .NET platform.

Get quick answers to questions with an active community of developers on Stack Overflow.

Join the .NET community


The Visual Studio product family provides a great .NET development experience on Windows, Linux, and macOS.

The Visual Studio Marketplace has thousands of editor extensions from Microsoft and others.

If you prefer to use a different editor, there are .NET command-line tools and plug-ins for many popular editors.

Learn about tools for .NET

Why choose .NET?

Find out why customers all over the world, in many different industries, rely on .NET.

Why choose .NET?

Ready to Get Started?

Our step-by-step tutorial will help you get .NET running on your computer.

Supported on Windows, Linux, and macOS

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