Introduction to Microsoft's .NET Platform

The elements

.NET is Microsoft's newly redesigned, revolutionary software programming architecture aimed to create Applications which are e-enabled to work on the Internet where they are termed as service. .NET is Microsoft's first step towards this technology. Microsoft has tried to build a new era of programming architecture with the introduction of .NET. This would be the most productive environment for businesses that want to develop complex Internet enabled applications. This is aimed at making a user's PC connect with all other desperate wireless devices affecting every piece of application code written. One can be sure of a richer computing experience with this technology because of its integration with smart devices and information agents. That is why Microsoft decided to rebuild this new platform from the ground-up.

ASP.NET is not just another upgrade or the next version of ASP. It is a unified web development platform that provides necessary services for developers to build Enterprise Web based Applications. ASP.NET allows you to use a full featured programming language such as C# or VB.NET to build web applications easily. Essentially ASP.NET code comprises of compiled code unlike traditional ASP code which is interpreted thus making it more efficient in terms of execution speed. OOPS features in ASP.NET. This helps in easy maintainability and reusability of code. As mentioned earlier, ASP.NET seamlessly integrates different programming languages without any fear of compatibility issues for these different languages. The whole idea is to keep the code separate from its implementation. That is the basic idea behind .NET.

C# is a simple, modern, object oriented, and type-safe programming language derived from C and C++. C# (pronounced "C sharp") is firmly planted in the C and C++ family tree of languages, and will immediately be familiar to C and C++ programmers. C# is built specifically to program the .NET framework. The .NET framework consists of a run-time environment known as the Common Language Runtime (CLR), and a set of class libraries, which provide a rich development platform that can be exploited by a variety of languages and tools. C# aims to combine the high productivity of Visual Basic and the raw power of C++. C# is provided as part of Microsoft Visual Studio 7.0. In addition to C#, Visual Studio supports Visual Basic, Visual C++, and the scripting languages VBScript and JScript. All of these languages provide access to the .NET platform, which includes a common execution engine and a rich class library. For C# developers, even though C# is a new language, it has complete access to the same rich class libraries that are used by seasoned tools such as Visual Basic and Visual C++. C# itself does not include a class library. It's built with the Web in mind and claims to provide an environment that's in sync with HTML, XML, and SOAP.

VisualStudio.NET is the comprehensive tool for rapidly building and integrating XML Web Services and applications, dramatically increasing developer productivity, and enabling new business opportunities. This is the only development environment built from the ground up for XML Web Services. By allowing to share data over the Internet, XML Web Services enable developers to assemble applications from new and existing code, regardless of platform, programming language, or object model. Developers can use VS.NET to create powerful next-generation Internet Applications fast and effectively.

VB.NET enables you to create rich applications for Microsoft Windows platform in less time, incorporate data access from a wider range of database scenarios, create components with minimal code, and build Web based applications using your existing skills. VB.NET has many new and improved language features such as inheritance, interfaces, and overloading that make it a powerful Object Oriented Programming language. Additionally, Visual Basic developers can now create multithreaded, scalable applications using explicit multithreading. These developers will also find various other new or improved features like the Overrides keyword, interfaces, shared members, constructors along with several new data types, structured exception handling, and delegates.

ADO.NET represents a new object model tailored for the .NET programming environment. It makes extensive use of inheritance and name spaces to provide a more general solution for data access and manipulation than existed in any of the previous object models. You can do a lot of neat things with ADO.NET that you couldn't do with ADO 2.7, but most of these features have no business in an ASP.NET Web application. For instance, if you're building complex DataSets with DataTable relationships, you're missing the mark. Those features are best employed in WinForms applications. In the context of ASP.NET, ADO.NET should be used as a simple data retrieval mechanism. DataSets can be streamed to XML, making them an ideal enabler for data transmission over Web Services, but this is more a product of the XML infrastructure of the .NET Framework itself than of ADO.NET.

XML Web Services are the fundamental building blocks in the move to distributed computing on the Internet. Open standards and the focus on communication and collaboration among people and applications have created an environment where XML Web services are becoming the platform for application integration. Applications are constructed using multiple XML Web services from various sources that work together regardless of where they reside or how they were implemented. XML Web Services expose useful functionality to Web users through a standard Web protocol. In most cases, the protocol used is SOAP. XML Web services provide a way to describe their interfaces in enough detail to allow a user to build a client application to talk to them. This description is usually provided in an XML document called a Web Services Description Language (WSDL) document. XML Web services are registered so that potential users can find them easily. This is done with Universal Discovery Description and Integration (UDDI).

JScript.NET is Microsoft's implementation for JavaScript. Jscript.NET adds many new features to Jscript, including direct support for Object Oriented Programming techniques.

VISUAL J#.NET was introduced by Microsoft Corporation at Microsoft TechEd 2002 Europe. This is targeted as a development tool for Java language developers building applications and services on the .NET Framework. Visual J#.NET aims to provide an easy transition for Java-language developers into the world of XML Web Services and dramatically improves the interoperability of Java language programs with existing software written in a variety of other programming languages. The ease of integration, interoperability and migration of existing skills and investments that Visual J#.NET enables can give a big draw to customers who want to develop applications and XML Web Services with the Java language on the .NET Framework.

SOAP is a lightweight specification protocol used to invoke methods on servers, components and objects so as to exchange information in a decentralized, distributed environment. SOAP was originally developed by Microsoft, DevelopMentor, and Userland Software and was then submitted to the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), who eventually made it an official recommendation. SOAP provides a solution for connecting Web sites and applications in order to create "Web services" (as coined by Microsoft in its new platform .net). The specification's authors decided to keep SOAP as a low-layer system. They clearly stated that they did not want to define an entire distributed object system specification (that is, no "distributed garbage collection," for example).

UDDI (Universal Discovery Description and Integration) is a public registry designed to house information about businesses and their services in a structured way. Through UDDI, one can publish and discover information about a business and its Web Services. This data can be classified using standard taxonomies so that information can be found based on categorization. Most importantly, UDDI contains information about the technical interfaces of a business's services. Through a set of SOAP-based XML API calls, one can interact with UDDI at both design time and run time to discover technical data, such that those services can be invoked and used. In this way, UDDI serves as infrastructure for a software landscape based on Web Services. In simple words we can say that UDDI is the yellow pages of Web services. As with traditional yellow pages, you can search for a company that offers the services you need, read about the service offered and contact someone for more information. You can, of course, offer a Web service without registering it in UDDI, just as you can open a business in your basement and rely on word-of-mouth advertising but if you want to reach a significant market, you need UDDI so your customers can find you.

VISUAL C#.NET offers beginners and intermediate developers, with some experience in C++ or Java, a modern language and robust development environment for creating XML Web Services and .NET based applications for Microsoft Windows platform as well as create powerful next-generation Internet Applications fast and effectively.

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About the author

Nakul Goyal

Nakul Goyal India

Nakul Goyal, currently doing Master of Sciences in Information Technology from Panjab University, Chandigarh. A Bachelor of Computer Applications from Punjab Technical University, he is passiona...

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