ASP.NET is not just the next version of ASP: it's the next era of web development. ASP.NET allows us to use a fully featured programming language (such as C# or VB.NET) to build web applications easily. In this article, John talks about the fundamentals of ASP.NET and some of its powerful features such as web services, the MSDN library and several learning resources.
ASP.NET: An Introduction - ASP.NET (contd.) (Page 4 of 5 )
Great XML Support
ASP.NET makes it simple to use XML for data storage, configuration and manipulation. The tools which are built into ASP.NET for working with XML are very easy to use. XML is excellent for storing information that rarely changes, because you can just cache that information in the computers memory after it has been initially extracted.
Microsoft has created an amazingly well designed MSDN library for ASP.NET and all of the other .NET languages. It includes a full class library containing information and examples on every class, function, method, and property accessible through ASP.NET.
The MSDN library also includes some tutorials and examples to get you started. It may take you a while to get used to the format and layout of the MSDN ASP.NET library, however, once you do, you will find it's an invaluable resource to aid you throughout your ASP.NET learning experience. The .NET MSDN library can be found at http://msdn.microsoft.com/net/.
.NET is still in Beta development
Microsoft is still working on the entire .NET framework, however you can still download the Beta 2 version (which works just fine... I'm yet to come across any major bugs) from the ASP.NET homepage. The final release of .NET is scheduled for February 18th, 2002.
.NET Language Choices
A tough question for any new .NET developer is "which programming language should I choose?". I would suggest either C# or VB.NET, simply because they are the most common and you should be able to get more help on these than any of the other languages.
There aren't many differences between these two languages, but here are a few pointers to help you make an informed decision:
Is case sensitive (can be a pain but you get used to it).
Is more advanced and can do more that VB.NET.
Will probably end up more common than VB.NET
Is good for developers who have worked with other C-based languages such as C/C++ or PHP
Is more structured than VB.NET
Requires slightly less code using } to close statements rather than End (among other small syntax differences).
Is the default language for .NET.
Is simpler to learn and use than C#.
Is good for developers who have worked with other VB languages or for those who have no previous programming experience.
Supports optional parameters (for functions) and the 'With' statement.
...I suggest that you make sure you can read, and possibly write fluently in both C# and VB.NET. It's not hard to do and if you're willing, you will pick up both languages fairly quickly.