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Thread: What is .Net?

  1. #1
    Your Lord and Master, Foamy gold trophy Hierophant's Avatar
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    Being a software developer using languages like C++ and Visual Basic, .NET has been interesting to me. It represents a new level of software development and maintenance. It allows easily distributable services. It will speed up development of software that works across platforms and hardware. However until recently I haven't had much time to really research .NET and see what it could do. Below you will find my findings after a little more research. I definately have to learn more to get a full grasp of the concept but if used in the developer community it will change the way people use computers as much as the GUI did in the early 90's.

    What is .NET?

    Here is Microsoft's Definition
    The Microsoft .NET Framework is a new platform for building integrated, service- oriented applications to meet the needs of today's Internet businesses; apps that gather information from, and interact with, a wide variety of sources, regardless of the platforms or languages in use. This article, the first of a two part series, illustrates how the .NET Framework enables you to quickly build and deploy Web services and applications in any programming language. Microsoft Intermediate Language and JIT compiler, which make this reuse possible, are described as well as managed components, assemblies, and the Common Type System (CTS).
    By now most of you are asking: What exactly does this mean and how will it affect my business and my customers?

    Basically .NET is a platform that provides a standard way to build advanced applications on the Internet. These applications are similar to your standard desktop applications like Word or Photoshop and provide the same capabilities. They will also provide the ability to access information or documents from any device anywhere in the world.

    By providing a centralized location for storage of applications it gives the user more choices in how they access their documents. Imagine if you could access an important brief or make changes to a contract directly from your laptop or even the clients PC while the document is actually stored on your Home PC. Or flagging webpages for later reading on your cellphone while riding the train home from work, only to have them downloaded and ready for you when you get home.

    This is the same promise that SUN Microsystems made five years ago when they released JAVA. So what makes things different now as opposed to the environment five years ago. The difference is more available technology. Today we have the XML standard and that standard provides for portable and modifiable documents.

    In fact the .NET standard proposed by Microsoft is very similar to the course SUN is taking with their current implementations of Java. Both rely on standard document formats to transmit data. Both rely on an external security model to permit execution. Both are platform independent and both are distributed in intermediary compiled forms known as byte-code.

    The difference comes in the fact that Microsoft is allowing any language to be compiled as a .NET run-time application. They are providing compilers for C++, C#, Visual Basic and JScript. Other companies are creating .NET compilers for COBOL, APL, CAML, Haskell, Mercury, ML, Oberon, Oz, Pascal, PERL, Python, Scheme, SmallTalk and even Java.

    All of these programs will be able to run on the common .NET runtime engine. The operating system won't matter. At release Microsoft plans to release .NET capability across all versions of the Windows Operating System. Other companies are looking to release the .NET run-time engine for Macintosh, Linux and Be OSes. Because of this cross-platform capability you will no longer have to worry about what Operating System the desired application was created on. This will actually give alternate choices to the consumer and widen the market.

    Whether this will drastically change the computer industry and the Internet remains to be seen. Only time will tell on that. However since this is more of a evolution in the way software is designed, distributed and used, most changes will likely be unseen and unheard of within the general end-user population. All they will understand is that new services will become available. Services which they will be able to choose on the open market.

    Reference Links:
    http://msdn.microsoft.com/library/de.../faq111700.htm
    http://msdn.microsoft.com/net/
    http://msdn.microsoft.com/msdnmag/is.../Framework.asp
    http://msdn.microsoft.com/xml/general/wsdl.asp
    http://www.w3.org/TR/2001/WD-xmlp-reqs-20010319/
    Wayne Luke
    ------------


  2. #2
    Grumpy Mole Man Skunk's Avatar
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    Hmmm...

    Maybe I'm missing the point here, but if this standard really is the future of the internet / computing do we really want it to be controlled by Microsoft? As a recent convert to the joys of the open source ideal (OK so I'm turning into a bit of an open source fanatic, may as well admit it) should I be welcoming .NET with open arms, or eyeing it with mistrust?

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    SitePoint Wizard westmich's Avatar
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    Lightbulb

    Some comments and questions -

    Comment - Although there is definitely a need for powerful Web-based applications, I doubt that it will become all things to all people. The same was said for much of the wireless technology and the Push technology before it.

    Comment - WLuke stated, "Both are platform independent..." My understanding so far is that the .NET framework will only be supported on MS Servers, although, it will support other languages. This is major difference between Sun and MS: Sun will allow you to run on any OS provided you program in Java, whereas, MS will allow you to program in many different languages so long as it runs on their OS.

    Question - After the recent lawsuit between Sun and MS(the reason that led to the lawsuit is a major contributing factor as to why Java hadn't taken off as promised, IMHO), Sun had stated that they pull support for Java for future MS OS's. How do you think this will effect .NET? Would a third-party component be a little used niche like ChilliSoft?
    Westmich
    Smart Web Solutions for Smart Clients
    http://www.mindscapecreative.com

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    SitePoint Wizard big_al's Avatar
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    Sounds great to me.

    But what it looks like, for me anyway, is that I only really am a novice at VB, and only really know ASP (VBscript), is would I still be able to take full advatage of .NET, has .NET intriduced more powerful versions of ASP?

    Or will I just have to bite the bullet or just fall behind?
    .NET Code Monkey

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    SitePoint Wizard westmich's Avatar
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    Originally posted by big_al
    Sounds great to me.

    But what it looks like, for me anyway, is that I only really am a novice at VB, and only really know ASP (VBscript), is would I still be able to take full advatage of .NET, has .NET intriduced more powerful versions of ASP?

    Or will I just have to bite the bullet or just fall behind?
    4Guys tend to publish quite a few articles on how to take advantage of .NET features in ASP. www.4guysfromrolla.com
    Westmich
    Smart Web Solutions for Smart Clients
    http://www.mindscapecreative.com

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    Thumbs up

    The .NET initiative is the latest and greatest in a long line of brilliant marketing plans that Microsoft(R) has used in its never-ending pursuit of total and complete world domination. To most Web developers, the .NET initiative is simply a way to port their applications to other platforms using an Application Program Interface (API). That way, those applications can be used by other Web developers as part of a general purpose toolkit. Simply put, an API provides a comprehensive set of "glosses" for translating programming calls from one system to another.

    How does Microsoft(R) plan to use the .NET initiative to accomplish total and complete world domination? The same way they have in the past: They will "embrace and extend" various benefits to Web developers who choose a Microsoft(R) platform in lieu of another platform.

    Brilliant. Simply brilliant.


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