A whole raft of new software development opportunities has been created with the
advent of the Microsoft .NET platform. The requirement for connected software
components and their associated development tools is fast increasing (IDC and
Gartner Group forecast $5-6 billion by 2004).
These factors, combined with other important industry developments, have
convinced the market that most new systems developed using Microsoft
technologies will be based on the .NET platform.
Applied Software Solutions
provides bespoke .NET Windows and Web-based development and consultancy
services. The reasons for using the .NET platform are manifold as follows.
Microsoft .NET can best be described as the initiative that will allow the
Internet to be the basis of a new operating system. The driving force behind
.NET is a shift in focus from individual Web sites or devices to new
constellations of computers, devices, and services that work together to
deliver broader, richer solutions. Users will have control over how, when, and
what information is delivered to them. Computers, devices, and services will be
able to collaborate directly with each other, and businesses will be able to
offer their products and services in a way that lets customers embed them in
their own electronic fabric. Simply put, .NET is Microsoft's strategy for
delivering software as a service.
The infrastructure and tools to build and operate this new generation of
services comprise of three main components:-
1. THE .NET FRAMEWORK
The infrastructure for the overall .NET Platform. The Common Language Runtime
(CLR) and class libraries (including Windows Forms, ADO.NET, and ASP.NET)
combine together to provide services and solutions that can be easily
integrated within and across a variety of systems. The .NET Framework provides
a fully managed, protected, and feature-rich application execution environment,
simplified development and deployment, and seamless integration with a wide
variety of languages. The .NET Framework simplifies service and application
development by providing features to help developers use XML Web Services as if
they were local objects in the developers' preferred development language.
Developers will focus their time and efforts on the unique services that give
their company a competitive advantage. The result is faster time to market,
improved developer productivity, and higher-quality software.
Key components of the .NET Framework:
The Common Language Runtime (CLR). The .NET Framework provides a run-time
environment called the Common Language Runtime, which manages the execution of
code and provides services that make the development process easier. Compilers
and tools expose the runtime's functionality and enable the writing of code
that benefits from this managed execution environment. Code that developed with
a language compiler that targets the runtime is called managed code; it
benefits from features such as cross-language integration, cross-language
exception handling, enhanced security, versioning and deployment support, a
simplified model for component interaction, and debugging and profiling
A New Language: The new C# programming language is an elegant, simple,
type-safe, object-oriented language that brings RAD to the C and C++ developer
without sacrificing the power and control that have been a hallmarks of C/C++.
Multiple-language capability. The multiple-language capability of the .NET
Framework enables developers to use the programming language that is most
appropriate for a given task and to combine languages within a single
application. Support for the .NET Framework has been announced for over 20
commercial and academic programming languages.
ASP.NET. More than the next version of Active Server Pages (ASP); this is a
unified Web development platform that provides the services necessary for
developers to build enterprise-class Web applications. ASP.NET is a compiled
.NET Framework-based environment; applications can be authored in any .NET
Framework compatible language, including Visual Basic and C#. Additionally, the
entire .NET Framework platform is available to any ASP.NET application. ASP.NET
offers significant performance and scalability benefits over previous Active
Server Pages (ASP) and COM+ technology.
ADO.NET. An evolutionary improvement to Active Data Objects (ADO) that provides
platform interoperability and scalable data access. Because Extensible Mark-up
Language (XML) is the format for transmitting data, any application that can
read the XML format can process data.
Windows Forms. A new forms package that enables developers building
Windows-based applications to take full advantage of the rich user interface
features available in the Microsoft Windows operating system. Windows Forms
offers full support for quickly and easily connecting to Web Services and
building rich, data-aware applications based on the ADO.NET data model.
2. VISUAL STUDIO .NET
The new features of Visual Studio .NET make it a complete development
environment for building on the Microsoft .NET Framework. It provides key
enabling technologies to simplify the creation, deployment, and ongoing
evolution of secure, scalable, and highly available Web applications and XML
Web services while leveraging developer skills. Key features of Visual Studio
.NET allow developers to:-
Speed up with high-productivity development tools. A tightly integrated and
unified visual environment simplifies the process of developing Web
applications and reduces the learning curve. Shared HTML, XML, and style-sheet
editors make it easy to develop Web applications from any Visual Studio
language, including the new C# programming language.
Rapidly design broad-reach Web applications. With Web Forms developers can
create cross-platform, cross-browser programmable Web applications using
exactly the same techniques previously employed to build form-based desktop
applications. Web Forms execute on the Web server, providing fast run-time
performance and generating HTML 3.2-compliant documents that can run in any
Easily use XML Web services to simplify distributed computing. With XML Web
Services, developers can invoke business logic over the wire using standard
Internet protocols. XML Web services utilise HTTP as the underlying transport,
which allows function requests to pass through corporate firewalls. XML is used
to format the input and output parameters of the request, so that the request
is not tied to any particular component technology or object calling
convention. As a result, any language, used by any component model, and run on
any operating system, can access XML Web services.
Quickly build middle-tier business components that scale by default. A key goal
of Visual Studio is to provide rapid application development (RAD) tools for
server-based development. Visual Studio .NET brings the same level of
productivity to creating middle-tier business logic that Visual Basic brought
to forms-based development. The components you build can be powerful and
scalable enough to run your business. In addition, the Visual Basic Language
has been updated with a number of new features, including new object-oriented
3. THE .NET ENTERPRISE SERVERS
NET Enterprise Servers are Microsoft's comprehensive family of server
applications for building, deploying, and managing scalable, integrated,
Web-based solutions. Designed with mission-critical performance in mind, .NET
Enterprise Servers provide scalability, reliability and manageability for the
global, Web-enabled enterprise and are built from the ground up for
interoperability using open Web standards such as XML. The .NET Enterprise
Servers build on the foundation laid with Windows DNA. Windows DNA made it
possible for companies to create the scalable Web solutions now deployed all
over the world; those solutions will be leveraged to create the next generation
of solutions as the Web continues to evolve. The fundamental concepts used in
building applications based on Windows DNA still apply, and are instructive in
understanding how the Microsoft Web solutions platform can help solve
real-world customer problems.
The core .NET Enterprise Servers include:
Microsoft SQL Server™. The complete database and analysis
solution for rapidly delivering scalable web applications.
Microsoft Application Center. The deployment and
management tool for high availability Web applications built on Windows 2000.
Microsoft BizTalk™ Server. Orchestrate business processes
and Web services within and between organisations.
Microsoft Exchange Server. Reliable, easy to manage
messaging and collaboration solution for bringing users and knowledge together.
Microsoft Host Integration Server. Integration components
for host systems.
Microsoft Commerce Server. The solution for quickly
building an effective Online Business.
Microsoft Internet Security and Acceleration Server.
Integrated firewall and Web cache server built to make the Web-enabled
enterprise safer, faster, and more manageable.
Microsoft Mobile Information Server. Extends the reach of
Microsoft .NET Enterprise applications, enterprise data, and intranet content
into the realm of the mobile user.