it sounds like a simple question, but the answer isn’t so simple. .NET is a technology initiative, a computing vision, a business strategy, a development platform, a way to deliver services on the Web and probably a lot more things besides. Got all that?
ZDNet.com’s Tech Update calls .NET “the ambitious, bet-the-company initiative that aspires to weave a fabric of XML-enabled software and services across the Internet.”
And what does that mean? Even if you know that XML stands for Extensible Markup Language, you may need more explanation. Microsoft describes .NET this way.
Microsoft and de Machine Learning
“Microsoft® .NET is the Microsoft XML Web services platform. XML Web services allow applications to communicate and share data over the Internet, regardless of operating system, device, or programming language. The Microsoft .NET platform delivers what developers need to create XML Web services and stitch them together. The benefit to individuals is seamless, compelling experiences.”
Other benefits (according to Microsoft) would be:
“By using the Internet to enable software applications to more easily work together, Microsoft® .NET promises easier integration within and between businesses, while creating opportunities to more meaningfully connect with consumers. With the tools of the .NET platform, businesses can realize improvements in the time and cost associated with developing and maintaining their business applications, as well as benefiting from empowering employees with the ability to act on vital information anywhere, from any smart device.”
ZDNet.com Tech Update puts it this way:
“. . . (Microsoft) .Net products and services (are) designed to bring business computing onto the Web–as a means by which companies can eliminate time and technology barriers between customers, partners and employees.”
And further adds:
“The .Net strategy ties together nearly all of the software giant’s products, services, Web sites and development efforts. It includes a new blueprint for how software should be designed; a set of products for building that software; and .Net My Services, an initial set of Microsoft-hosted services. Later this year, the company plans to offer content, shopping, banking, entertainment and other Internet services through a variety of devices, all linked to its Passport authentication service.”
There’s lots more to .NET – a programming model (the .NET framework), a development environment (VisualStudio.NET), developer tools (like ASP.NET), programming languages (C#, VisualBasic.NET) and other elements (smart clients, .NET servers, etc) – but those are beyond the scope of this discussion.