Part I:The .NET Framework
One of the main objectives of the framework is to provide a simplified d evelopment model so
that a lot of the plumbing that was required to develop in the past is e liminated. The .NET
Framework is a simpler development environment and will give developers more power over
their applications. This framework uses the latest in Internet standards such as XML, SOAP,
and HTTP. You will also find the applications that you build on this pla tform are easy to
deploy and maintain.
The .NET IDE
Instead of a multitude of tools for development, the .NET team created a single tool for
developing Windows Forms, ASP.NET Web Applications, and XML Web services . This tool
is Visual Studio .NET.
As a developer, you will find Visual Studio .NET an indispensable tool. It is finely interwoven
within the .NET Framework and will give you full and complete access to everything that
.NET has to offer. Visual Studio .NET is discussed further in the next c hapter.
The .NET languages
In the past, you chose the development language for an application based upon the
functionality that you were trying to perform. Some languages were more powerful than
others, but at the same time they might have required a higher level of understanding and
were, in most cases, more difficult to program in.
Now the .NET Framework provides you with a language-independent programm ing platform.
You do not have to decide which language would provide a better solution . All languages are
now on a level playing field.
In .NET, no one language is superior to any of the other languages. They all have equal access
to everything that .NET offers.
To be part of the .NET Framework, a language only has to follow certain rules. The biggest
and most important rule for inclusion is that the language needs to be a n object-oriented
language. Microsoft provides four languages with the .NET Framework: Vis ual Basic .NET,
C#, C++.NET, and JScript .NET. Microsoft also provides J# (pronounced J -sharp), but in
order to use this new language that is basically Java for .NET, you need to download the
language to install it on your server. You can find this download at
The .NET Enterprise Servers
The marketing folks at Microsoft made things a little more confusing whe n they started
naming everything with a .NET suffix. Shortly after the introduction of .NET, all the
forthcoming .NET Enterprise Servers rebranded themselves as part of the .NET platform.
The problem is that they really aren t part of the .NET platform at all. Yes, it is true that you
can interact with some of these applications in an indirect way through the framework, but the
first true .NET server will be the next version of Microsoft SQL Server following SQL Server
2000. There has been no indication of how this next version will be fold ed into the .NET
platform. However, it has been stated that these servers will be deeply integrated and that, for
instance, you will be able to write your stored procedures in any of the .NET languages.