First off, let's get one thing straight. This book is about developing code within the confines of the Microsoft .NET Framework. Therefore, it only makes sense that you start by getting acquainted with the underlying architecture with which you will be developing your code: the .NET Framework.
I cover a lot of material in this chapter, most at the 30,000-foot level. The main goal of this chapter isn't to make you a .NET Framework expert. This chapter is designed to provide you with a level playing field from which to start your Managed C++ code development while exploring this book.
I start with a brief description of what the .NET Framework is and why we programmers need it. Then, I briefly examine the assembly, which is the central building block for all .NET Framework application distribution and execution. Next, I move on to the core of .NET Framework: the common language runtime (CLR), the common type system (CTS), and the Common Language Specification (CLS). Finally, I discuss, at a very high level, the software components available to .NET Framework developers.