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What is Microsoft's .net?

11:51 pm on Dec 7, 2001 (gmt 0)

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I have heard bits and pieces about Microsoft's .net, but I am still fuzzy about what 'it' really is. Is it something that has been released yet? I read articles like this [techupdate.zdnet.com] and I feel like I am not seeing the whole picture.

It talks about how Microsoft wants to update security for this, but I read in the article it is called a 'framework'.

So, what exactly is .Net? Is it a concept? A protocol? A process? An application?

11:58 pm on Dec 7, 2001 (gmt 0)

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Good question! I can't really answer it sorry
12:24 am on Dec 8, 2001 (gmt 0)

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seth_wilde's post regarding Passort is a crucial part of Microsoft's .NET.

Here is MS's explanation:
Quite simply, .NET is Microsoft's platform for XML Web services. XML Web services allow applications to communicate and share data over the Internet, regardless of operating system or programming language.

The Microsoft® .NET Platform includes a comprehensive family of products, built on XML and Internet industry standards, that provide for each aspect of developing, managing, using, and experiencing XML Web services. XML Web services will become part of the Microsoft applications, tools, and servers you already use today—and will be built into new products to meet all of your business needs.

More specifically, there are five areas where Microsoft is building the .NET platform today, namely: Tools, Servers, XML Web services, Clients, and .NET experiences.

So to make the story short, watch for MS to hijack XML. You will see various extensions already that are very very Microsoft specific, and will not function in other platforms, servers, clients or services! Surprise!

Passport for example, supposed to use XML, allowing you to go to any web site (that ran IIS compliant, uhh.. XML compliant) and buy or sell things without having to type anything in! MS would conveniently store all the information about you, your personal life, habits, financial status, your wife, your girlfriend (that your wife didn't know about) your medical conditions, how much Prozac you are taking, when is your Viagra needs refilled, how often you drink, what you drink, when you went to the bathroom last, and if you use Charmin - safely and securely on an XML server where your vendor can instanteniously request this data - of course through XML. Wouldn't that be awesome?!

You might have heard of smart tags. That is also part of .NET. Smart tags are little "links" that your .NET compliant, or was that XML compliant, browser would automagically create for you, since you are dumb. For example you see a sentence with the words "book". The web master didn't put a link in there, but smart tag, because they know it better would contact .NET services and request information on "book", and the good folks at MS know that the best place to get book is at Barnes and Noble. Therefore you would see a link under "book" pointing to Barnes and Noble. Of course BaN does compensate MS for it's hard work, but don't worry - money is not really an issue here.

You would be happy to know that .NET is already built in to several servers such as MS Exchange, SQL, and Commerce 2000 servers.

Next will be the Microsoft Mobile Information 2001 Server and of course Microsoft SharePoint Portal Server 2001 to find, share, and publish business information.

Would you love to be Amazon using SharePoint, and have your users view your documents with Smart tags? Wow, that would be just so cool!

Did I mention I am a very sarcastic person when need be?

Now off my soapbox...

12:55 am on Dec 8, 2001 (gmt 0)

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Not sure if this is just one aspect of .net or the entire piture:

"Microsoft® .NET Passport is a suite of e-business services that makes using the Web and purchasing online easier, faster, and more secure for its members. .NET Passport provides its members with single sign-in and express purchase capability at participating sites, reducing the amount of information to be remembered or retyped."

For more...


9:40 pm on Dec 8, 2001 (gmt 0)

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.Net gives Microsoft ownership of the Internet, replaces 'Plug and Play' with 'Plug and Pay', repays the DoJ for its understanding Redmond's need to indulge in unpopular business practices, gives developers the generic C# proprietary language, rids us of the negativity of Sun, Cisco, IBM, etc., negates the need for the FBI to invest hugely in Carnivore, and gives the Bush administration the kind of tool it needs to implement the USA PATRIOT Act to its fullest extent.

All in the interests of enduring freedom, you understand...:)

9:59 pm on Dec 8, 2001 (gmt 0)

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>Quite simply, .NET is Microsoft's platform for XML Web services.

Platform.... So it's a marketing thing? I'm still confused.

9:55 am on Dec 11, 2001 (gmt 0)

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".Net is a solution for their problems, not our problems."
- Dave Winer [internetworld.com]-

Everything is marketing, grnidone, and you know it well :).

Which, I must tell you, is why I'm surprised that you asked the question, "What is .Net?", in the first place. Forgive me for thinking this way but, given the nature of your moderation and the penetrative insight of your posts, I really thought you were pulling our chains on this one for, if you are in the dark, who are we to lead you out of it?

So, your question nagged away at me. To wit:

"If grnidone is asking (genuinely) about the nature and substance of .Net, then we're in deeper trouble than we thought. We all know that its niceties are tied to the basal ganglia of Bill's brain, but surely most have a general idea of this nebulous thing he is already imposing on us? We've dedicated hundreds of hours to fighting its many and various aspects, e.g. SmartTags, the CLR, the asphyxiation of competing companies, the crushing of Java, the promotion of C#, etc. Surely, because it's been so easy to see how many twisted trees we wish to fell, their sheer number gives us more than just a glimpse of the wood into which the Dollar Bill is leading us?"

Perhaps not. It's all very well for that fool PostScript (don't worry, I know him well and will give him a sound thrashing when I get hold of him later today) to dump double negatives on everybody but, by indulging in drivel as meaningless as anything ever put out by Redmond, he's not doing us any favors. In short, his pathetic little rant amounts to just so much gob****e :).

I intend rectifying his gross violation of these forums’ TOS by leading all those interested in this beast of mass destruction (.Net) to a site giving a considered overview of its many aspects. Internet World [internetworld.com] has one of the best primers going on this thing and, as yet, its site has not been shut down for fear of the information falling into the hands of those deserving of detention without trial, kangaroo courts, execution by proxy, and some of the other niceties of our civilized way of life.

Internetworld has this to say of .Net:

"It is a combination of seemingly disconnected strategies and features that come together in a vaguely defined whole. It is based not on a single vision but on several visions of how the next generation of the Internet will work and how Microsoft’s existing platforms will integrate with the Internet. It is meant to address deficiencies in the first-generation Internet experience in order to make the second-generation experience considerably richer."

Which is all very nice, simple, clean, and easy to explain away. But they don’t duck the issue by leaving it at that. The above definition is made from within a certain, definite context. And context, like marketing, is everything :). You have to spend an hour or two digging through this site - it's a real goldmine for those battling to cling to the shirt tails of this rapidly evolving, fast-mutating specter of whatever it is Gates is doing to all of us. In our best interests, of course...

The url again: [internetworld.com...]


8:15 am on Dec 12, 2001 (gmt 0)

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.net is several things.

One thing is a protocol for implementing web services. To give you an example of a very simple web service: I can set one up so that you feed me a date/time/latitude/longitude, and I feed you back the time of sunrise and sunset. Maybe I charge you each time you execute it, or not. The exchange mechanism is XML over HTTP--you send me XML with the input, I send you XML with the output. The protocol is open, and submitted to the W3. It is not vendor or product specific. You could just as well develop a web service using this protocol on Linux as you could on IIS.

The next thing is a platform that runs on/through IIS that delivers web services.

The next thing is a set of programming tools for developing web services. These include enhancements and libraries that work with C++, C# (a new language), VB.NET etc. These make it easy to develop web services.

Passport is an authentication mechanism for use with web services.

So while the standard is open, Microsoft hopes to win by making it easier to develop web services using their operating system and tools than the alternatives. Expect it to become big starting first quarter next year when the Visual Studio .NET (language/platform) products ship.

9:46 am on Dec 12, 2001 (gmt 0)

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12:15 pm on Dec 12, 2001 (gmt 0)

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boy... what?
5:10 am on Dec 14, 2001 (gmt 0)

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Xoc gave a good idea of what .net is. But I don't think it's the protocol; it just offers a way to implement the protocol. And I think the Visual Studio tools have been shipping already for quite some time. They've definitely been hyping it to software developers for more than a year now.

From the September 2000 issue of MSDN magazine (a journal for Windows software developers) comes these gems:
.NET is an all-encompasing new platform for development that covers everything from a common runtime to languages that are custom-built to take advantage of it. [... much snippage...] .NET is a lifestyle shift, not a marketing ploy.
These guys take themselves seriously, too!

From a developer's point of view, trying to keep up with Microsoft's latest new all-encompassing gee-gaw every two or three years makes your head spin. It's either very discouraging (if you're cynical) or very exciting (if you're young).

There's no real reason to boycott it any more then there's a reason to boycott Sun's Enterprise Java Beans.

But I have to admit that when Microsoft started asking C++ developers to give that up and start programming in Microsoft's new and better (and proprietary) language C#... that turned a lot of developers off. That's when I started getting interested in Linux! Doesn't seem to have slowed Microsoft down any though.

[added ps:]
If people want to discuss this further, maybe it should be moderator moved over to foo, since it doesn't really have anyting to do with search engines.

12:15 pm on Dec 14, 2001 (gmt 0)

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"If people want to discuss this further, maybe it should be moderator moved over to foo, since it doesn't really have anyting to do with search engines."

Perhaps not just yet ... but just wait till the corporate sector with its 100 million users is locked into 2002's incarnations of UDDI (Universal Description, Discovery and Integration), MSN has chowed AOL, and Yahoo! has slunk from the search scene to a place of money-grubbing infamy in the Web's archives :).

"In principle, UDDI registries exist primarily to be queried by other computers searching for useful Web services. Vendors of Web development tools can build in utilities that query a UDDI registry using the Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP) and display lists of services that can be accessed via an XML application programming interface, all from within the development environment.

Christopher Kurt, group program manager for UDDI and Web services at Microsoft, says the UDDI white pages and yellow pages wind up being useful as a directory for all the services businesses offer, Web-based or not. “Certain things in UDDI, at a high level, are very, very useful from a business perspective, as a catalog of the types of services businesses provide.” Although the primary purpose of UDDI resolves around Web services, it still makes sense to have a “human-friendly” interface like the one RealNames provides, he says. “It means that every single business in the world can participate in this B2B space,” he says."

- Internet World [internetworld.com] -

It seems to me that our familiar, apparently innocuous portals are vying to become the first to reinvent themselves as Web service providers. Or am I wrong in assuming this?

Moreover, it seems - perhaps incorrectly - that .Net's myriad manifestations hold countless implications for search. Such a far-reaching restructuring of the basic Internet experience cannot but have enormous influence on how we source information on the Web. Look at how the changes of the past few weeks (at Inktomi, Lycos, FAST, AV, Looksmart, Google, Excite, etc.) have affected the way we approach Web marketing and site optimization.

The discussion - informed by those more fully aware of .Net's pervasive nature - should focus on the nature of possible changes and how they might affect those involved in the 'search experience' (whee, that sounds good).

What does .Net hold in store for us and our clients? Or is this thing still too nebulous to distil any interactions resulting from its constituent parts to meaningful analysis?

11:11 pm on Dec 14, 2001 (gmt 0)

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Good point, Pagecount. Thanks for pointing out that this discussion is really on topic :)

I think how it affects us is the fact that "web services" will become more prevalent and take the place of simple server-side scripting. Instead of having a simple perl or php script perform a database query, it will be possible to submit a query to the web for a complete service, find a server that implements that service, call that service with some specified parameters, and get the results tailored to your needs. Corporate intranets make sense as a place to implement this kind of stuff. A web service providing inventory management could be made available to the sales team from remote locations, for example.

Portals re-inventing themselves as web-service providers? Interesting...

.Net is really Microsoft's reaction to Sun's java. Competition is a good thing. Both companies offer tools to help developers implement this web-services stuff.

11:42 am on Jan 10, 2002 (gmt 0)

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".Net is really Microsoft's reaction to Sun's java. Competition is a good thing. Both companies offer tools to help developers implement this web-services stuff."

Hah! .Net vote rigging illustrates importance of Web services [news.zdnet.co.uk] shows just how right you are. Although competition, as this report illustrates, isn't exactly a favored word or concept at Redmond :).

How low will MS go? Betting is now open...