.NET in 24 Minutes
This brief introduction to Microsoft's .NET technology is offered by Lars Powers and Mike Snell, authors of the forthcoming Visual Basic.NET Programmer's Guide: The Base Class Library, from Sams Publishing (0672322323).
The hunger for information about .NET on the part of professional programmers, developers, and administrators is tremendous. Why such demand? This document has been written to help clarify the implications of Microsoft's initiative for these professionals, and the business enterprises they build and support.
This article explains .NET, its components, and its importance in a straightforward way. Additionally, it serves as a reference to all the .NET technical jargon. Wondering why developers are concerned with garbage collection or constantly referring to SOAP? The .NET terms are defined in short, readable definitions in a glossary at the end of this document.
What Is .NET?
Before considering .NET's importance, it's imperative to understand what .NET is. Simply stated, Microsoft is re-inventing its company around the concept of delivering software as a service across the Internet.
Sounds simple, right? Well, in order to realize this vision, Microsoft is re-creating its development tools, server software, operating systems, user applications, and Web browser. Microsoft is creating new tools and applications, and helping to define new Internet standards. This all revolves around the concept of software as a service.
Yes, the way you outsource your dry-cleaning today is how you'll access features of Microsoft Word tomorrow. Software services allow unprecedented communication between applications and, if Microsoft is right, will connect users with their information at a whole new level. Imagine filling out your expense report from your cell phone while you're overseas. You enter a receipt in francs and the cell-phone software connects with an exchange-rate service, submits the report for approval, and before you return, dollars are directly deposited into your checking account.
As you can see, .NET is not simply a new set of developer tools to be unleashed in late 2001. It is a multi-level strategy that will be realized over years, not months. Its impact on computing will be broad and long-lasting.