What is .NET?
Several people asked me what is .NET? The greatest shock was when someone asked me where is VB7? Because I am not affiliated with Microsoft, I can answer only as truthfully from my perspective as possible.
The simple answer is that .NET is both a marketing strategy and a product. The moniker .NET is pervasive and in itself has led to some confusion. However, if you evaluate products individually, you can determine whether any product offering tagged with .NET is right for you. For example, Windows .NET serverI'm guessing a bit herefalls into a product category. Windows .NET server will probably let you take the greatest advantage of applications written with .NET development tools, and includes enhancements to Windows NT technology, focusing on security and Web Services.
Visual Studio .NET is all product. Visual Studio .NET includes a brand-new object-oriented framework, a new language C# (pronounced C sharp), and the revamped Visual Basic .NET. Programmers will delight in the architectural beauty of the .NET framework, and businesses will reap huge dividends in terms of time to delivery and maintenance costs. Unfortunately, the concept framework represents a difficult marketing proposition.
Visual Studio .NET makes it easier than ever to build database and Web applications, and Web Services will ultimately help bridge legacy and new software in ways that haven't even been invented yet. As a software architect, it is the framework that I am most excited about.
I will spend the rest of this article talking about Microsoft's .NET framework and development tools. I haven't used many of the other products tagged .NET. You will have to buy and evaluate these products on an individual basis, or return to InformIT for informed opinions on evolving technologies like .NET.