.NET vs .COM: Difference and Comparison

.NET gives multiple options to developers, however .COM provides to use other environments. Runtime error and memory usage have always been an issue of all the frameworks, but .NET manages memory much better than .COM resulting in fewer errors.

.COM is not bounded by machine limits where there is a limit with .NET. We will see how these two frameworks have their advantages. 

Key Takeaways

  1. .NET is a software framework developed by Microsoft, while COM is a platform developed by Microsoft for creating software components.
  2. .NET provides language interoperability, memory management, and garbage collection, while COM provides a mechanism for creating reusable software components.
  3. .NET is designed to run on a virtual machine, while COM is designed to run on the Windows operating system.

.NET vs .COM 

‘.NET’ is a top-level domain initially intended for network-oriented entities but now widely used for various purposes. ‘.COM’, short for commercial, is the most commonly used top-level domain for businesses, individuals, and organizations worldwide.


The .NET framework gives the developer an option to work with multiple languages, so the developer can choose the language, the framework also resolves the runtime error by effectively managing the memory.


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.NET also provides a “Web application model” enabling developers to deliver software as a service, All of the developers are provided with a set of ASP and controls that contains common HTML user-based interface widgets and tools like text boxes, drop-down menus and many more. 

Microsoft was the company that introduced the.COM framework. The framework was able to implement data types defined by binary. The Framework gives you the freedom to use other environments even if they were not the ones from which they originated.

Machine limits do not even bind them. They are limited to component implementers so that well-defined interfaces can be provided which are different from the implementation. It also allows the reusability of the objects.

Comparison Table 

Parameters of Comparison  .NET .COM 
Runtime .NET doesn’t give runtime errors as it manages memory efficiently. .COM isn’t as efficient as .NET in managing memory. As it allows multiple threads which affects the synchronization as well. 
Flexibility .NET gives the option to the developer to use multiple languages, so that developer could perform tasks up to his potential. .COM doesn’t have limitations bound to the machine only.   
User InterfaceUser has options like ASP+ control which lets the developer run widgets simply on projects. .COM gives the developer option to manually initiate/create objects as per the requirement which is a little customization. 
Reusability The developer can reuse the pre-written codes by driving the same logic. Developers can create reusable software just by taking advantage of windows services. 
SecurityThe framework has its security mechanism with two general features- “code access security” & Validation and Verification. The framework does not have its security features. 

What is .NET?

.NET framework is one of the most flexible frameworks, giving the developer more options. It lets the developer work as per his expertise and specialization of work.

The framework provides a Common Type System feature that permits and supports the exchange of types and object instances. Component development and execution environment made up of some major components: 

  1. Runtime for common languages. Despite its name, the runtime in a framework consists a vital role in the development purpose. It affects the runtime experiences of a component. The roles for the runtime change while the stage of development. It is only because of the feature of automation used in memory management.
  2. Programming classes have been unified, and the framework has provided the developers with an extensible set of libraries. There are many classes available by the Microsoft Foundation or windows foundation. C++ developers mostly use classes associated with Microsoft, whereas Java developers use the classes that belonged to the Windows Foundation.
  3. The developers who are Visual Basic developers use VBAPIs. If we put this in a simpler language, frameworks collect various frameworks which are already available by Microsoft. With these frameworks, the developer doesn’t need to learn other platforms and can easily develop the desired components. 

What is .COM?

Microsoft Windows is a family of operating systems. .COM is an abbreviation of Component Object Model. .COM technology allows software components to communicate.

The entire Windows Shell, explorer.exe, which is responsible for the start menu, taskbar, and windows used to search for files on the computer, is built with .COM technology. 

Shell extensions use .COM to provide metadata about files that Windows does not recognize, specific commands for them (for example, right-clicking a.7z file), thumbnails, and many other features.

.COM has an advantage as “Component farm” can run on it. Proper coding can be used with a new call to reuse without being uploaded by memory. 

Software is created by .COM programmers with the help of components of COM-aware. Each .COM component exposes its functionality throughout one or more interfaces.

Interface IDs (IIDs), also GUIDs, are used to differentiate between the interfaces that such a component claims to support.

The custom interface(IUnknown) implementation exposes methods for reference type conversion and counting, which is implemented by most of the .COM components(casting). 

A custom interface consists of a pointer to a virtual method table with a list of the available printers which function in implementing the declared interface, just the same as in the declared interface. 


Main Differences Between .NET and .COM 

  1. The difference between .NET framework and .COM work is categorized based on runtime error and memory management. .NET framework works well in memory management and doesn’t give runtime errors whereas .COM framework provides errors because of poor memory management. 
  2. .NET gives the option to the developer to use multiple languages, so that developer could perform tasks up to his potential whereas .COM doesn’t have limitations bound to the machine only. The custom interface(IUnknown) implementation exposes methods for reference type conversion and counting, which is implemented by most of the .COM components(casting). 
  3. User has options like ASP+ control in .NET, which lets the developer run widgets simply on projects whereas .COM gives the developer option to manually initiate/create objects as per the requirement, which is a little customization. 
  4. The developer can reuse the pre-written codes by driving the same logic in .NET, however, the developer has to write extra codes and create a library which is the addition of work whereas .COM Developers can create reusable software just by taking advantage of Windows services. 
  5. The .NET framework also gives the feature of a security mechanism. It has two general features: code access security & Validation and Verification, whereas The .COM framework does not have security features. 
Difference Between .NET and .COM
  1. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S001236921637177X
  2. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S104784770400187X
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