What is Framework Class Library (FCL)?

The .NET Framework Class Library is the foundation on which .NET Framework applications, components, and controls are built. The .NET Framework includes classes, interfaces, and value types that expedite and optimize the development process and provide access to system functionality. To facilitate interoperability between languages, most .NET Framework types are CLS-compliant and can therefore be used from any programming language whose compiler conforms to the Common Language Specification (CLS).

The FCL includes types that perform the following functions:

  • Represent base data types and exceptions.
  • Encapsulate data structures.
  • Perform I/O.
  • Access information about loaded types.
  • Invoke .NET Framework security checks.
  • Provide data access, rich client-side GUI, and server-controlled, client-side GUI.

The .NET Framework provides a rich set of interfaces, as well as abstract and concrete (non-abstract) classes. You can use the concrete classes as is or, in many cases, derive your own classes from them.

The Base Class Library (BCL) is the core of the FCL and provides the most fundamental functionality, which includes classes in namespaces System, System.CodeDom, System.Collections, System.Diagnostics, System.Globalization, System.IO, System.Resources and System.Text.

Framework Class Library structure

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Short answer

  • The .NET Framework Class Library is the foundation on which .NET Framework applications, components, and controls are built.
  • Most .NET Framework types are CLS-compliant and can therefore be used from any programming language whose compiler conforms to the CLS.
  • The Base Class Library (BCL) is the core of the FCL and provides the most fundamental functionality.

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