How Does the .NET Framework Help My Business?
The .NET framework is like other frameworks in that it helps software engineers build software. In this regard, there is no difference between Sun's J2EE, Borland's VCL, or Microsoft's MFC. And, of course, applications written with any of these frameworks work great and play well with the others on Windows systems. There is a significant difference in implementation between .NET and older frameworks, though.
Software engineering, like many things, evolves. Companies leapfrog over each other, learning and improving as they go. Microsoft's .NET framework is like that. Microsoft has taken the best of what has succeeded in other frameworks in the past and built on it for the future. Regular expressions provide a good example. Regular expressions are a powerful aspect of other tools, such as Perl, and have been incorporated into the .NET framework. Reflection is an evolutionary step in dynamic type information, and is an example in which .NET has innovated and improved on existing technologies. Web Services is another superlative example of evolution and innovation. Microsoft adopted open standards technologies, including SOAP and XML, and combined them with its innovative attributes (attributes is a means of associating metadata with code) to make building Web Services comparatively easy.
Even software engineers may be confused by some of the buzz words because although they are based on sound software engineering principles, the terms themselves are relatively new. In short, what will Visual Studio .NET and languages such as C# and Visual Basic .NET mean to your company? .NET will mean a shorter time to implementation, more advanced applications because developers are working from a higher level of abstraction, code that costs less to own relative to its increased capability, Web applications that can be designed and assembled much more quickly, more scalable database applications, and Web Services (see the section "What Is All the Hype About Web Services?").