Friday, November 9, 2012

Difference between CLR,CTS and CLS in .Net


The Common Language Runtime (CLR) is the virtual machine component of Microsoft's .NET initiative. It is Microsoft's implementation of the Common Language Infrastructure (CLI) standard, which defines an execution environment for program code. The CLR runs a form of bytecode called the Common Intermediate Language (CIL, previously known as MSIL -- Microsoft Intermediate Language).
Developers using the CLR write code in a language such as C# or VB.Net. At compile time, a .NET compiler converts such code into CIL code. At runtime, the CLR's just-in-time compiler converts the CIL code into code native to the operating system. Alternatively, the CIL code can be compiled to native code in a separate step prior to runtime. This speeds up all later runs of the software as the CIL-to-native compilation is no longer necessary.
Although some other implementations of the Common Language Infrastructure run on non-Windows operating systems, Microsoft's implementation runs only on Microsoft Windows operating systems.

The virtual machine aspect of the CLR allows programmers to ignore many details of the specific CPU that will execute the program. The CLR also provides other important services, including the following:

* Memory management
* Thread management
* Exception handling
* Garbage collection
* Security


To fully interact with other objects regardless of the language they were implemented in, objects must expose to callers only those features that are common to all the languages they must interoperate with. For this reason, the Common Language Specification (CLS), which is a set of basic language features needed by many applications, has been defined. The CLS rules define a subset of the common type system; that is, all the rules that apply to the common type system apply to the CLS, except where stricter rules are defined in the CLS. The CLS helps enhance and ensure language interoperability by defining a set of features that developers can rely on to be available in a wide variety of languages. The CLS also establishes requirements for CLS compliance; these help you determine whether your managed code conforms to the CLS and to what extent a given tool supports the development of managed code that uses CLS features.

If your component uses only CLS features in the API that it exposes to other code (including derived classes), the component is guaranteed to be accessible from any programming language that supports the CLS. Components that adhere to the CLS rules and use only the features included in the CLS are said to be CLS-compliant components.

Most of the members defined by types in the .NET Framework class library are CLS-compliant. However, some types in the class library have one or more members that are not CLS-compliant. These members enable support for language features that are not in the CLS. The types and members that are not CLS-compliant are identified as such in the reference documentation, and in all cases a CLS-compliant alternative is available. For more information about the types in the .NET Framework class library, see the .NET Framework Reference.

The CLS was designed to be large enough to include the language constructs that are commonly needed by developers, yet small enough that most languages are able to support it. In addition, any language construct that makes it impossible to rapidly verify the type safety of code was excluded from the CLS so that all CLS-compliant languages can produce verifiable code if they choose to do so. For more information about verification of type safety, see JIT Compilation.

The following table summarizes the features that are in the CLS and indicates whether the feature applies to both developers and compilers (All) or only compilers. It is intended to be informative, but not comprehensive. For details, see the specification for the Common Language Infrastructure, Partition I, which is located in the Tool Developers Guide directory installed with the Microsoft .NET Framework SDK.


The Common Type System (CTS) is a standard that specifies how Type definitions and specific values of Types are represented in computer memory. It is intended to allow programs written in different programming languages to easily share information. As used in programming languages, a Type can be described as a definition of a set of values (for example, "all integers between 0 and 10"), and the allowable operations on those values (for example, addition and subtraction).

The specification for the CTS is contained in Ecma standard 335, "Common Language Infrastructure (CLI) Partitions I to VI." The CLI and the CTS were created by Microsoft, and the Microsoft .NET framework is an implementation of the standard.


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