The .NET Foundation
A rock pile ceases to be a rock pile the moment a single man contemplate s it, bearing within
him the image of a cathedral.
Saint Exupery, Flight to Arras (1942)
Welcome to XML Web services for ASP.NET. The Web services movement of to day has been
referred to as a technology that is heralding a new era of application d esign. You can think of
Web services as a component or a method that can be called across the We b. Even though
many companies are offering solutions to implement and consume Web servi ces, this book
focuses on Microsoft s solution. In this chapter, I will be reviewing the foundation of the .NET
Framework and what you need to understand about this new platform in ord er to see how
XML Web services fit into the whole picture. This chapter emphasizes the following topics:
¨ Grasping the idea of .NET
¨ Learning about the CLR
¨ Understanding the Base Class Libraries
What Is .NET?
This is a loaded question, but what it really comes down to is that .NET means different things
to different people. Much of what Microsoft is now offering has the .NET name somewhere in
its title, but what .NET means really depends on whom you ask. The offic ial one-line answer is
that .NET is Microsoft s platform for XML Web services.
Microsoft s .NET Framework is a new computing platform built with the Internet in mind, but
without sacrificing the traditional desktop application platform. The In ternet has been around
for a number of years now, and Microsoft has been busy developing techno logies and tools
that are totally focused on it. These earlier technologies, however, wer e built on Windows
DNA (Distributed interNet Applications Architecture), which was based on COM (Component
Object Model). Microsoft s COM was in development many years before the Internet became
the force that we know today. Consequently, the COM model has been built upon and added to
in order to adapt it to the changes brought about by the Internet.
With the .NET Framework, Microsoft built everything from the ground up w ith Internet
integration as the goal. Building a platform from the ground up also all owed the .NET
Framework developers to look at the problems and limitations that inhibi ted application
development in the past and to provide the solutions that were needed to quickly speed past