One of the main disadvantages of traditional style programming pre-mid 1990s was the often severe difficulty of maintaining previously developed software either by the original programmer or any other programmer assigned later to the task of maintenance. With the evolution of Object Oriented Programming (OOP) much of this problem has been eliminated, and this particularly so in the case of the Dot Net environment and the application of 3-tier design and programming techniques. The CLR is the primary vehicle for resolving many of the issues of efficient maintenance of pre-existing software within Dot Net.
It provides strong data typing and easy method-based programming language syntax. Managed code is the term used by Microsoft to identify computer program code that requires and will only execute under the "management" of a Common Language Runtime virtual machine. The benefits of using managed code include programmer convenience (by increasing the level of abstraction and creating smaller models) and also providing enhanced security. Built-in security using code access enhances application security and also helps avoid buffer overruns. Each of these contributes to reduced maintenance and headaches costs.
Having the CLR also contributes to ease of deployment and the vastly improved versioning facilities-the end of "DLL hell", which greatly reduces maintenance problems. The assembly is the logical unit of deployment in the the. Net environment. It contains the Manifest, Metadata, Microsoft intermediate language (MSIL) and resources. The Manifest is a data store that contains metadata about the components in an assembly (version, types, dependencies, etc). The Metadata- is a data type that completely describes all types defined in an assembly: properties, methods, arguments, return values, attributes, base class.
Examining the information in the Assembly can greatly facilitate code maintenance and also development. .Net provides an intrinsic class known as “ Reflection” which can be very productively used to assist in code maintenance.
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