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The Evolution Of Microsoft: .NET Explained

Sure, you've heard about .NET... maybe you're a Visual Basic programmer for a small company, maybe you write SQL stored procedures for a huge company, or maybe you're just a Microsoft developer wanting to keep on the cutting edge of technology. In this article, James will explain exactly what .NET is, how it works, how we (as developers) can benefit from it, its many new features, and other .NET related information.

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By: James Yang
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December 23, 2001
  1. · The Evolution Of Microsoft: .NET Explained
  2. · What is .NET?
  3. · Understanding .NET
  4. · The .NET framework (contd.)
  5. · The .NET framework(contd.)
  6. · Web Services
  7. · Conclusion

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The Evolution Of Microsoft: .NET Explained - What is .NET?
(Page 2 of 7 )

Simply put, .NET can be referred to as Microsoft’s next generation platform for Windows and Internet Software Development. However, I personally believe that .NET is much more that just a new software development platform. To understand what .NET really is, and what it can do for you, I think it’s best if I discuss the primary goals of .NET and the way the ideas for .NET came about.

The idea

.NET is Microsoft’s newly redesigned, revolutionary software programming architecture aimed at achieving several of Bill Gates’ visions. If you attended the Professional Developers Conference (PDC) 2000, you may have noticed the ambitious “Vision” that Bill Gates and his team from Microsoft were talking about. The idea of “Software as a Service” was mentioned a number of times. Microsoft was dedicated to turning this idea into reality. .NET is Microsoft’s first step towards this reality.

Software as a service

The idea of “Software as a Service” is not as baffling and complex as you might imagine: many companies are already using this technology without you even noticing it. They have started to transform their Win32 applications into “software services”, or, these applications have at least been modified to integrate with the services that the company may provide down the track.

Take Mirc for example. Mirc is a popular chatting application that runs under Windows. However, over the last couple of years, its popularity has declined, due to the increase in the same functionality being available through web based Java Applets. Java Applets provide the same functionality as Mirc, however, there is no installation required, and they are portable: As long as you can access the internet with a browser that supports Java Applets, then you’re set. This is similar to the way Microsoft is heading with .NET.

Using .NET and its related technologies (such as web services), developers can easily create “software services”. These services can then be published online, and made available to other developers instantly.
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