Microsoft released Visual Studio .NET (VS.NET), codenamed Rainier (for Washington's Mount Rainier), in February 2002 (the beta version was released via Microsoft Developer Network in 2001). The biggest change was the introduction of a managed code development environment using the .NET Framework. Programs developed using .NET are not compiled to machine language (like C++ is, for example) but instead to a format called Microsoft Intermediate Language (MSIL) or Common Intermediate Language (CIL). When a CIL application executes, it is compiled while being executed
The Microsoft .NET Framework is a development and execution environment that allows different programming languages & libraries to work together seamlessly to create Windows-based applications that are easier to build, manage, deploy, and integrate with other networked systems.
The Microsoft .NET Framework Software Development Kit (SDK) includes everything developers need to write, build, test, and deploy .NET Framework applications, documentation, samples, and command-line tools and compilers.
Each Visual Studio version has a separate HOWTO section. Please read it first before filing bugs or test reports!