ASP.NET is a unified Web development model that includes the services necessary for you to build enterprise-class Web applications with a minimum of coding. ASP.NET is part of the .NET Framework, and when coding ASP.NET applications you have access to classes in the .NET Framework. You can code your applications in any language compatible with the common language runtime (CLR), including Microsoft Visual Basic and C#. These languages enable you to develop ASP.NET applications that benefit from the common language runtime, type safety, inheritance, and so on.
If you want to try ASP.NET, you can install Visual Web Developer Express using the Microsoft Web Platform Installer, which is a free tool that makes it simple to download, install, and service components of the Microsoft Web Platform. These components include Visual Web Developer Express, Internet Information Services (IIS), SQL Server Express, and the .NET Framework. All of these are tools that you use to create ASP.NET Web applications. You can also use the Microsoft Web Platform Installer to install open-source ASP.NET and PHP Web applications.