Today, .NET celebrates its 20th birthday. According to Microsoft blog, today there are over five million developers who use .NET for there development projects. That is a huge number. If not the single largest community, this is definitely one of the top largest communities. 13th February, 2002 is when .NET was officially launched along side Visual Studio .NET. I was around 12 years old then. I didn't know what .NET is, or what Microsoft does apart from faintly knowing that they make the Word application that I use for my school projects. I didn't know .NET will become such a huge part of my life, or that I will write a blogpost about it on its 20th birthday. But that is life, and here I am.
I am one of those developers who started real coding directly with C#. Yes, I studied C++ in University, and before that C in highschool, so I had some background in this, but I never really coded in any of those two languages. My journey of coding started as C# and .NET developer, and thus this framework holds special place in my heart. I recently read a COOL fact about C# (Pun intended). The original proposed name of C# was - COOL. Which is abbrivation for C-Like Object Oriented Language. From what I have read, they feared trademark issues, and thus decided to go for C++++, which translated to # (Matrix of four + signs) and became C#. But that is just half of the story. The original story is that .NET's C# is the second C# at Microsoft. There is a great article by Rico Mariani about this from 2018. The original C# was concived at Microsoft in 1988, today the OG peeps from Microsoft call it C#88.
Apparently originally it was written to run the Project Omega, which we now know as Microsoft Access. Eventually for various other reasons, they had to kill the OG C#88 but it still survived as parts in different projects of Microsoft Ecosystem. A lot of cool features from original Visual Studio have their roots in original C#.
From being a close knit, walled framework to being open source, .NET has come a long way. A lot of people, specially the ones who worked with .NET in 2000s and later switched to other frameworks don't realise .NET is no more the guarded framework that they knew from early 2000s. Developers who haven't been in touch with .NET since 2010s usually get really surprised or are outright in denial when I tell them .NET repositories are in top 30 most engaged open source repositories on GitHub since last five years.
I was reading through all the stories and tweets on Twitter with #dotNETLovesMe and I read so many interesting stories of people writing their journeys of developing with .NET for last 20 years. There are people sharing their first .NET code written in 2003, people who have old installation CDs from 2005, screencaps of first videos of The .NET show and what not. It just makes me realise the huge impact a successful framework can have on society. If data is the new oil, software frameworks are the steel that builds those huge ass refineries and pipes to extract and transport that oil. And I think .NET is and will be ruling this space.
I have been working with .NET for some time now, and I intend to do so for the foreseeable future. I have built Web, Front-End, Android apps, iOS apps, IoT solutions, Raspberry Pi apps, HoloLens apps, Middleware solutions, Windows Forms, Windows Phone Application, WebJobs, CRON Jobs, and of course plain old console apps. I have wrote .NET code on Windows 7,8,10,11, on MacOS, and on Linux. I want to code in .NET for all the possible platform on all the possible platforms. I am excited to see what .NET brings out in future. Aren't you?