What is a Metadata?

Metadata is information about a PE. In COM, metadata is communicated through non-standardized type libraries. In .NET, this data is contained in the header portion of a COFF-compliant PE and follows certain guidelines; it contains information such as the assembly’s name, version, language (spoken, not computer—a.k.a., “culture”), what external types are referenced, what internal types are exposed, methods, properties, classes, and much more. The CLR uses metadata for a number of specific purposes. Security is managed through a public key in the PE’s header. Information about classes, modules, and so forth allows the CLR to know in advance what structures are necessary. The class loader component of the CLR uses metadata to locate specific classes within assemblies, either locally or across networks. Just-in-time (JIT) compilers use the metadata to turn IL into executable code. Other programs take advantage of metadata as well. A common example is placing a Microsoft Word document on a Windows 2000 desktop. If the document file has completed comments, author, title, or other Properties metadata, the text is displayed as a tool tip when a user hovers the mouse over the document on the desktop. You can use the Ildasm.exe utility to view the metadata in a PE. Literally, this tool is an IL disassembler.

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A ns:Data that is used to describe other data. Data definitions are sometimes referred to as metadata. Examples of metadata include schema, table, index, view and column definitions.

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  • Mar 27th, 2007

In Simple words, Meta data is set of tables that describe  the types and its members  defined in the assembly and the types and its members referenced in the assembly. Manifest is another set of tables that describe the assembly attributes like the strong name, culture, public key token and the files and resources contained in the assembly. It also describes the publically exported types of the assembly.

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  • Dec 28th, 2014

Meta data is the glue that enable many of the features of the Microsoft dotnet framework. Metadata also contains version information describes the resources that are in the assembly and enables other assorted .Net framework.

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