Microsoft believes that the best way to get started building distributed applications is to tackle a simple application first. In a 3-2-1 project, a working prototype of a three-tier distributed application is built, using two developers, in one month. By working on a simple application, you can discover the ease-of-use and productivity benefits of Microsoft Windows DNA without worrying about all the nontechnical issues that can complicate larger-scale projects. 3-2-1 projects are also a great way to evaluate competitive technologies—you can build the same application using each technology and compare the results of the projects. Once you've determined whether Windows DNA meets your needs, you'll have the experience you need to start moving on to more complex applications.
A 3-2-1 project should involve a well-defined, real-world application from your business. For example, you might choose to build a Web front end to an existing application, migrate an existing two-tier application to three-tier, or prototype a subset of a larger, existing application's functionality. It's important to choose a portion of the business that the project team already understands so that the team does not need to learn the business and learn how to build three-tier applications in the one-month project period.
3-2-1 projects normally involve Microsoft Windows NT Server, COM, and MTS. You might also choose to use MSMQ, IIS, or COMTI in your application. The application is usually built using a development tool and language the project team is already familiar with. Likewise, 3-2-1 projects usually access existing data sources, using either data access technology the development team is familiar with or ADO. The goal is to minimize the number of new things the project team needs to learn.
You can try a 3-2-1 project either on your own or in conjunction with a consultant who is already familiar with Windows DNA and the 3-2-1 process. When you work with a consultant, you will usually spend one week learning about Windows DNA technologies and planning the scope of your project. The second week is spent on the conceptual, logical, and physical design of the application. The final two weeks of the project are spent implementing the components. At the end of the project, you have a working prototype as well as documentation about the vision, scope, and design of the project. If you are interested in working with a Microsoft consultant on your 3-2-1 project, contact your local Microsoft sales office.
You can use this book as a guide to learn about the Windows DNA technologies and how to implement an application. You should plan on spending one week reading the book and selecting a project, one week on design, and two weeks on coding. You'll have the greatest success if the developers selected for the project team are already familiar with the development tool and language used to implement the application. Be sure to limit the scope of your project to something that you feel could reasonably be developed over a two-week period using technologies the developers are already familiar with.