By William J. Harding
For the past several years, Microsoft has been investing in the Internet. Technology developments, product developments, availability of technical information, and consumer marketing have been increasingly Internet-focused. In fact, it is hard to find any Microsoft technology or product that does not have a Web or Internet component or feature.
Attention to the Internet and the Web reached a high point in July 2000 when Microsoft announced its vision for future computing, calling it .NET (pronounced dot net). Ultimately influencing the entire product line, .NET represents one of the most important strategic initiative in Microsoft's history.
Many books and articles have been written about .NET, and many more are scheduled for publishing. This chapter presents an overview of the architecture and some components.
Microsoft .NET does not describe any one product or service. Rather it is a vision for future computing that includes the way software is developed and what the user is able to do with various computing devices. Microsoft .NET includes a group of products and services to make that vision a reality.
The vision for future computing is XML Web services. XML Web services are the basic building blocks of distributed computing on the Internet. People and the computer applications they use are moving toward more communication and collaboration across networks and the Internet. Web services, using open standards, are becoming the method for creating computer applications that interact and communicate with each other over networks and the Internet. Applications can be constructed using multiple XML Web services from various sources that work together regardless of where they "live" or how they are implemented.
Microsoft .NET is based on open standards. .NET combines the presentation capabilities of HTML with the metadata capabilities of XML. HTML and XML are both a widely supported industry standard defined by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C).
Microsoft .NET can be divided into the following technology areas: