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The code targeting the .NET runtime is managed code.Managed code runs inside the environment of CLR i.e. .NET runtime. In short, all IL are managed code. However, if you are using some third party software (example VB6 or VC++ component) they are unmanaged code, as .NET runtime (CLR) does not have control over the source code execution of these languages.

Code that cannot be directly hosted by the .NET runtime is termed unmanaged code.

IL means Intermediate Language which is also known as MSIL (Microsoft Intermediate Language) or CIL (Common Intermediate Language). All .NET source code is compiled to IL. IL is then converted to machine code at the point where the software is installed, or at run-time by a Just-In-Time (JIT) compiler.

.NET can be understood as a runtime environment and a comprehensive base class library. The runtime layer is properly referred to as the Common Language Runtime, or CLR. The primary role of the CLR is to locate, load, and manage .NET objects on your behalf. The CLR also takes care of a number of low-level details such as memory management (Garbage Collection), application hosting, coordinating threads, and performing security checks (among other low-level details).

CTS is the short form of Common Type System. The CTS specification fully describes all possible data types and all programming constructs supported by the runtime, specifies how these entities can interact with each other, and details how they are represented in the .NET metadata format

CLS (Common Language Specification) is the subset of CTS (Common Type System), which all .NET languages are expected to support. It was always a dream of Microsoft to unite all different languages in to one umbrella and CLS is one-step towards that. Microsoft has defined CLS, which are nothing but guidelines that language should follow so that it can communicate with other .NET languages in a seamless manner. Thus, if you build .NET types that expose only CLS-compliant features, you can rest assured that all .NET-aware languages can consume them.

The binary unit that contains the managed code is termed an assembly.  In other way, when a *.dll or *.exe has been created using a .NET-aware compiler, the binary blob is termed an assembly. An assembly consists of one or more files (dlls, exe’s, html files etc.), and represents a group of resources, type definitions, and implementations of those types. An assembly may also contain references to other assemblies. These resources, types and references are described in a block of data called a manifest.

The manifest is part of the assembly, thus making the assembly self-describing.

An assembly is completely self-describing. As all information is in the assembly itself, it is independent of registry. This is the basic advantage as compared to COM where the version was stored in registry.

There are two types of assembly Private and Public (shared) assembly. A private assembly is normally used by a single application, and is stored in the application's directory, or a sub-directory beneath. A shared assembly is normally stored in the global assembly cache, which is a repository of assemblies maintained by the .NET runtime. Shared assemblies are usually libraries of code, which many applications will find useful, e.g. Crystal report classes that will be used by all application for Reports.

 An assembly may also contain references to other assemblies. These resources, types and references are described in a block of data called a manifest.

The manifest is part of the assembly, thus making the assembly self-describing.

Manifest contain the following information:

Version of assembly, Security identity, Scope of the assembly, Resolve references to resources and classes. The assembly manifest can be stored in a PE file either (an .exe or) .dll with Microsoft intermediate language (MSIL code with Microsoft intermediate language (MSIL) code or in a stand-alone PE file, that contains only assembly manifest information.

Namespace is a logical grouping of class. Semantically related types contained in an assembly or possibly spread across multiple related assemblies thus formed namespaces. For example, the System.IO namespace contains file I/O related types, the System.Data namespace defines basic database types, and so on. It is very important to remember  that a single assembly (such as mscorlib.dll) can contain any number of namespaces, each of which can contain any number of types.


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