Big Passport Lesson
Define an online sales strategy that doesn't force your customers to divulge purchasing information without a transaction present. Now I can just hear many skeptics out there, saying that a transaction doesn't need to be present to reliably store credit card data. But the big problem with Passport was that for many users, all their credit card and personal data were stored. The lesson learned for Microsoft is to embed purchasing data in the context of an order workflow so that after an order is done, users can decide whether they want the confidential data stored or not. From a design standpoint, that was the major shortcoming with Passport.
Look for Microsoft to Actively Refute Security Issues on Passport Until Another Version Is Available
That's the least of what you would expectyet from a development standpoint, Passport has yet prove it is unhackable. Microsoft will most likely relaunch Passport with an entirely revamped feature set focused on security. As with any major Microsoft release, wait until the first beta is completely finished and a point upgrade is announced before going into any development effort.
What Does this Mean for .NET?
It's clear that the numbers that Microsoft released at TechEd show the thousands of developers actively working on .NET. They will have to be careful to not outrun the air cover that Microsoft is providing with the current "one-degree-of-separation" TV spots and marketing programs. It is possible, by the way, for developers to outrun the .NET marketing efforts. Just look around to see how many .NET products there are, and the level of questioning and lack of widespread adoption for these products. Some companies have already outrun the air cover from Microsoft, and can exist for a definite period of time until either demand catches up with them or Microsoft purchases their technology. More than one of the .NET faithful is already angling for the secondselling themselves to Microsoft. If you are considering .NET, consider the position that the vendors you are working with are in before going in with both feet. .NET may eventually be successful, but the trick is to catch the adoption trend without sacrificing your company to create it.
Is .NET Integration More Marketing or True Technology for Microsoft?
With Hailstorm dropped and Passport being so untrustworthy from a security standpoint, where does this leave .NET? Still in the process of proving itself, and hoping developers see sales as the air cover drives demand. It will be interesting to see how the promises of integration with SAP, Oracle, and others play out. The concept SAP has of using Web services in its Web Application Server makes sense, and it gives .NET developers a link to the strong user base SAP has cultivated to 22,000 customers worldwide. For Microsoft to be truly successful, it will have to respect the SAP requirements for integration, and show that its fledgling standard can really integrate to the transaction level with SAP, Oracle, PeopleSoft, and others. If the last few .NET initiatives are any indications, it will be a tough but doable strategy.