Chapter 1:The .NET Foundation 5   The second part of the top layer of the .NET Framework is the Windows Forms section. This is where you can build the traditional executable applications that you  built with Visual Basic 6.0 in the past. There are some new features here as well, such as a new  drawing class and the capability to program these applications in any of the available .NET la nguages. You may view XML Web services as something you use within the ASP.NET applicatio ns that you build, but this isn t the only place where you can consume XML Web se rvices. It’s quite possible to consume XML Web services within a Windows Form application a nd a number of other application types, just as you can from any ASP.NET Web applicatio n. CROSS REFERENCE: ASP.NET  and Windows   Forms are covered in Chapter 2. The .NET vision There is a vision of the future at Microsoft, and this vision is strongl y influencing the direction of its products. The vision is that in the future all devices will be co nnected in one way or another. The view is that all business and household devices (telephones, microw aves, computers, televisions, and so forth) will be connected to the Internet one day an d will, therefore, be able to communicate across this medium to perform the functionality needed to  turn them into superior products. The thought is that these products and devices will u se standardized languages such as XML and SOAP to communicate over standard protocols su ch as HTTP. That is where XML Web services come in! XML Web services are going to be  the means for all these products and devices to communicate the information and reques ts that they will need to perform some type of functionality or registration. Aside from that vision of the future, .NET today is able to solve simila r problems in regard to connecting disparate applications and platforms that run on a wide varie ty of devices. Today there are walls between these differing systems, and .NET has been built  to knock down these barriers by providing a common communication model using XML and SOAP. Microsoft has truly taken hold of this idea and has developed the entire  .NET Framework around it, and that is why you will find strong support for XML througho ut the Framework. Also, you will notice that when you visit Microsoft s developer pages  at MSDN, you cannot get away from stories and articles that are related in one way or anothe r to Web services. This momentum will get stronger and stronger as .NET matures. It isn t just Microsoft that has grabbed hold of this vision of the f uture. If you go to IBM s developer site you will notice that all the talk is also about XML Web s ervices and how to use SOAP. Other companies, like Sun Microsystems, have joined in, promoting  their own versions of Web services. So you don t need to worry and wonder if the Web ser vices idea is simply a Microsoft fad   it isn’t . Web services is a vision that comes from the computing industry and not just one company in particular. Almost every new platform version, d atabase, and server application is being developed with Web services in mind. The companies  and people developing these products realize that it is quite advantageous to expos e platform or application functionality as Web services.