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The .NET Web Service World

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What is .NET, exactly? It's a big package, but this article skims the surface and, in particular, shows you a few examples of using .NET to build and consume Web services.
This article is excerpted from Building Web Services with Java: Making Sense of XML, SOAP, WSDL, and UDDI (Sams, 2001), by Steve Graham, Sim Simeonov, Toufic Boubez, Doug Davis, Glen Daniels, Yuichi Nakamura, and Ryo Neyama.
This chapter is from the book

What is .NET, exactly? Well, for all the details, you'll have to go and get one of the many .NET books or surf to http://www.gotdotnet.com—it's a big package. But we can skim the surface and, in particular, show you a few examples of using .NET to build and consume Web services that work alongside SkatesTown.

The .NET framework consists of three major components: a common runtime environment for managed code, a set of core class libraries to provide common features, and a Web-oriented infrastructure called ASP.NET. These work together to provide a unified developer experience that Microsoft hopes will be compelling enough to make it the premier platform for application development. Let's explore what the package holds.

Common Language Runtime

Most of the code you'll deal with in .NET exists in something called the Common Language Runtime (CLR). The CLR is very much like Java's virtual machine—CLR components are implemented as bytecode that runs in a managed environment. This means that the runtime will automatically handle such tasks as garbage collection, threading, security, and loading classes. The really cool thing about the CLR in relation to Web services is that any CLR component can be exposed as a Web service. That means that classes/objects written in C++, Visual Basic, C#, or even COBOL can be easily exported for use across the intranet or the Internet.

C#, incidentally, is Microsoft's new C++-derived object-oriented programming language. It has a lot in common with Java, as we'll see when looking at some sample code.

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