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Microsoft Drops .NET Name For Next Windows Server 490

Posted by timothy
from the muddled-nomenclature dept.
metamatic writes "C|net is reporting that Microsoft is dropping the name "Windows .NET Server" and going back to "Windows Server 200x" (where x is currently expected to be 3). Other products with .NET in the name are also being evaluated for renaming. Analysts are being quoted as saying that slapping .NET on so many Microsoft products has confused people as to what .NET actually means. Or could it be that customers know what it means, but nobody wants to buy it?" Obiwan Kenobi points out a similar article at ENT News
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Microsoft Drops .NET Name For Next Windows Server

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  • Re:Confusion? (Score:2, Informative)

    by EnderWiggnz (39214) on Friday January 10, 2003 @05:53PM (#5058753)
    in reality its a replacement for win32 api's .

    in marketing, its anything you want it to be.
  • Re:Confusion? (Score:5, Informative)

    by larien (5608) on Friday January 10, 2003 @05:56PM (#5058793) Homepage Journal
    .NET is their buzzword compliant strategy including SOAP, XML, Web services and their latest plan to crush competitors. Somewhere in there is the ditched Hailstorm/Passport plan for world domination.

    Palladium is the DRM, sorry, secure platform where the idea is that a Palladium enabled OS will only run signed apps, presumably adding security by not running any viruses, worms and any haxxor tools. Of course, this means any open source will not work in a Palladium OS because of the difficulty of getting an open source app signed.

    That's my understanding of the two, but I'm not 100% sure; it's been difficult trying to work out exactly what .NET really means...

  • Re:Confusion? (Score:5, Informative)

    by danheskett (178529) <danheskett AT gmail DOT com> on Friday January 10, 2003 @06:01PM (#5058852)
    1. .NET is at least four things:

    a. Runtime environment. This is a replacement for Win32 the "foundation" classes of Windows. Basically a new way to develop Windows applications. Analagous in several ways to Java. Doing quite well. Keystone is "Visual Studio .NET". Also the ".NET Runtime".

    b. Server platform. This is what this article is about. Lots of products where called "Microsoft X .NET" (or were going to be). Renamed and re-evaluated.

    c. .NET Services. A way to use XML to remotely call functions and procedures and retrieve data. Integrated heavily with (b) and (a). Alive and kicking.

    d. .NET Passport. A centralized database of information to be accessed via (c), (b), and (a). Failed already, quite close to be mostly permanetly dead.

    2. Palladium is also several things:

    a. A subset of TCPA (Trusted Computing Platform Association/Architecture).

    b. A system that uses strong encryption and tamper-resistant hardware to physically control access to portions of computer functionality. Specifically provides: integrity checking of code, sealed storage, non-repuditation (somewhat), authentication (somewhat).

    c. A platform on which to build highly "robust" or effective content control/DRM systems.


    3. Analysis. .NET is pretty cool. A much better way to develop applications for Windows. Visual Studio 6 is seriously dated. .NET should also facilitate the possibility of cross-platform applications. All and all a complete redesign of Windows development methodology that was sorely needed. .NEt server platform is finished in traditional name-based sense. Essentially all it was a collecton .NET Runtime/.NET services/Previous Applications that had been renamed and updated. No big loss with the name change. Passport is dead, thank god. XML Web Services aren't gaining traction for end-users, but are definately useful in some situations.

    Palladium - the jury is still out in my mind, but its bad in the mind of most slashdotters. Essentially I like the idea of creating a system where you can physically guarantee short of physically modifiying hardware on the microchip level that a program will do "X". The real test will be to see how it is implemented, how the level of openness is, and what levle of control MS wants to impose. I'd give it 50/50 chances for widespread success and 25/75 for geek approval.

    Hope this helps.
  • Wired Article (Score:3, Informative)

    by bahwi (43111) <.incoming. .at. .josephguhlin.com.> on Friday January 10, 2003 @06:09PM (#5058914) Homepage
    There's a blurb about it at the bottom of this [wired.com] Wired Article.

    One quote "Microsoft also is re-evaluating the ubiquitous name's use on other software." adds another dimension to this than just taking it off of the Windows 2003 Server.
  • by NickSD (595340) on Friday January 10, 2003 @06:10PM (#5058922)
    check out The Ars article on .NET [arstechnica.com]
  • Re:Confusion? (Score:1, Informative)

    by zero-g (85994) on Friday January 10, 2003 @06:25PM (#5059040) Homepage
    You forgot one: Sloooow!

    Microsoft put on a demo of .Net at my school where they coded up this app then ran it on a laptop. When they got to the point where they ran the app, they decided to hand out raffle tickets. Needless to say, I was able to register a linux.com e-mail address long before the app started working. Funny thing is... they expect this to eventually work on cell phones and such. If it's slow on a decent laptop running wireless on top of an OC-3... well, you get the picture.
  • by PseudoThink (576121) on Friday January 10, 2003 @06:26PM (#5059044)
    The core of .NET is the .NET framework, which is somewhat analogous to the Java Virtual Machine. Both the framework and the .NET Framework SDK [microsoft.com] are free.
  • ActiveX (Score:3, Informative)

    by Iamthefallen (523816) <Gmail name: Iamthefallen> on Friday January 10, 2003 @06:29PM (#5059061) Homepage Journal

    I've said it before, but I'll repeat myself, MS is run by lawyers and marketing people who don't consider any technical aspects of what they're doing. MS messed up bad with the ActiveX craze and maybe this influenced the move away from the .Net name. Very few still understand what .Net actually is, and MS isn't helping. I really wish they could have some of their techs/programmers sit down and write a coherent explanation/introduction, without lawyer/marketing influence. It took me a looong time to get a grip on it, simply because any MS material is so filled with buzzwords and marketing terms.

    For those that still don't know what .Net is, it's like an MS version of J2EE, not Java, J2EE. It's a architecture with among other things a large class library and a cross platform runtime that all .Net languages can run under.

    Ok, so it's not 100% accurate, but close enough.

  • by Junks Jerzey (54586) on Friday January 10, 2003 @06:35PM (#5059099)
    I've seen a number of posts trying to clarify what .NET is, and they're missing the point. .NET isn't just about web services and so on, which in itself is a good reason to change the name. .NET is a major attempt to shed legacy Windows problems and modernize both Windows itself and Windows application development. If you read the .NET and C# documents, you'll see this. For example, if you want to write a GUI application for Windows today, you have to use one of (a) raw Win32 API, (b) MFC, (c) a cross-platform toolkit like WxWindows, or (d) a tool like Delphi or Visual Basic. By a large margin, the last of these is the cleanest and least stressful--if you're only concerned about Windows that is (of course you can get Delphi for Linux in the guise of Kylix). But .NET is bringing the GUI building features of Delphi and Visual Basic to the OS, so there's support for this from the ground up. Ditto for technologies like DirectX 9. No more do you have to deal with arcane C++ interfaces to COM, you can use a pretty little C# component.

    In short, Microsoft is deprecating most of the Win32 API, making .NET the preferred method for developing Windows applications. If don't like C#, that's okay. Microsoft has been getting indepdendent language developers to port their own languages to .NET, including lesser used languages like Smalltalk, APL, and Mercury.

    As much as I hate to say it, .NET could be a huge win. No more struggling with Petzold books, just use the much simpler .NET components. No need to hang onto awful legacy frameworks like MFC, which even Microsoft employees hate. No more having to choose between C++ and much slower scripting languages like Python for application development, just use C#.
  • Re:Confusion? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Proc6 (518858) on Friday January 10, 2003 @06:37PM (#5059110)
    I write C#.NET stuff almost every day. All .NET is is a framework. A collection of programming objects that let you build apps by fitting them together, and writing the glue, rather than re-inventing the wheel everytime. If you know what the Java classes are, or MFC, .NET is very similar. .NET objects can be accessed by writing command line apps, windows GUI apps, and ASP web-apps. It makes it very nice to be able to know the same language for all 3, at least to me. I liked Perl for CGI, but couldnt use it to make a GUI app very easily. VB was queer, but worked for GUI apps, but not very strong for complicated apps. .NET framework includes a bunch of objects for dealing with everything from I/O to Databases to XML and Webservices.
  • by squiggleslash (241428) on Friday January 10, 2003 @06:44PM (#5059160) Homepage Journal
    You know what Java is? Language, virtual machine, libraries, etc? Create apps that will "run anywhere", and an environment which is a kind-of networked execution infrastructure?

    .NET is an attempt to do the same thing. Not a clone of Java, but like DOS and CP/M, or Windows and MacOS, etc.

    If I were in marketing, I'd say both .NET and Java are attempts to build operating systems for the Internet (as opposed to operating systems for computers.)

  • by Proc6 (518858) on Friday January 10, 2003 @06:45PM (#5059170)
    If .NET was really a bet-the-business proposition, they might as well call the product what it is.

    Which is exactly what they're doing. .NET Server was a misnomer, as it is strictly WindowsNT/2K code with the latest IIS and .NET Framework installed.

    A real .NET Windows will appear when the entire OS runs as managed code along with the rest of .NET. This next server OS is exactly what they've renamed it to, Windows 2003 Server.

  • Re:Confusion? (Score:2, Informative)

    by zero-g (85994) on Friday January 10, 2003 @07:03PM (#5059317) Homepage
    It was this voice translator app they whipped up in Visual Studio .Net that used the Babelfish translator.

    Even with an embedded version of .Net, I have my doubts. Especially when it comes to efficient bandwidth usage. Online time on cell phones isn't exactly cheap.
  • by cwolves1 (640285) on Friday January 10, 2003 @07:06PM (#5059336)
    FYI, this is microsoft's e-mail sent to all partners: Name Change for Windows .NET Server 2003 Announcement for Microsoft Partners Applicable To: All Microsoft Partners Worldwide SUMMARY The product name Microsoft(R) Windows(R) .NET Server 2003 is being changed, effective January 9, 2003, to "Windows Server 2003." Microsoft is making an effort to clarify the naming and branding strategy for .NET. As support for Web services becomes intrinsic across our entire product line, we are moving toward a consistent naming and branding strategy to better enable partners to affiliate with this strategy and customers to identify .NET-enabled products. The first product to be affected is Windows .NET Server 2003. The new name for the next version of Windows is "Windows Server 2003." This will not affect our time frame for launch, which is still planned for April 2003. DETAILS * We are pursuing an overall effort to clarify the naming and branding strategy around .NET. As support for Web services becomes intrinsic across our entire product line, we are moving toward a consistent naming and branding strategy to better enable partners to affiliate with this strategy and customers to identify .NET-enabled products. * The next version of Windows Server will be formally called "Windows Server 2003." The reason for this is to simplify the product's naming and reconcile it with our branding strategy for .NET. * "Windows Server 2003" will carry the "Microsoft .NET Connected" logo indicating its ability to easily and consistently connect disparate information, systems, and devices to meet customers' people and business needs (regardless of underlying platform or programming language). This logo is also available for use by our partners who are building solutions on the Microsoft platform to help customers identify solutions and products that support standards-based interoperability. * The more complete integration of .NET Web services and products is one of several major enhancements in "Windows Server 2003" -- all aimed at providing a highly connected, productive, and dependable infrastructure with excellent economic value for our customers. QUESTIONS & ANSWERS Q) Why the name change? A) In response to customer and partner feedback to provide clarity around our .NET strategy and programs. Specifically, we are moving toward a branding approach where ".NET Connected" is the way we communicate our products (and our partners' products) that enable customers to easily and consistently connect disparate information, systems and devices to meet their people and business needs, regardless of underlying platform or programming languages. Q) Why make this change now? A) Product naming, features, etc. are never final until the product ships -- this is both in response to customer feedback as well as part of a larger effort to provide clarity for customers and partners interested in affiliating with and benefiting from Microsoft .NET. Q) What changes technically in the Windows Server 2003 product as a result of this name change? A) There are no feature changes in the product. This is a naming change, and does not affect the functionality of the product in any way. Q) Will this cause a slip in the Windows Server 2003 product schedule? A) No -- we remain on track for a worldwide launch of "Windows Server 2003" in April 2003. Q) Is this an indication that Microsoft is backing away from .NET? A) Quite the opposite -- "Windows Server 2003" is a major step forward in our effort to provide a highly connected, productive, and dependable infrastructure with excellent economic value for our customers. "Windows Server 2003," with integration of the Microsoft .NET Framework, UDDI services, and other XML Web services support has set the industry bar for Web service development and performance -- combined with the new security, scalability, and performance of "Windows Server 2003" and we are delivering a platform optimized for the next generation of enterprise computing.
  • Re:Passport dead? (Score:3, Informative)

    by Tim C (15259) on Friday January 10, 2003 @07:11PM (#5059364)
    Passport still exists, but I think that take up has been much slower than MS wanted (ie virtually nonexistant). In fact, to order evaluation copies of Windows XP Professional and Office XP, I had to sign up for a Passport. To sign on to Hotmail (in IE 6 only?) or MSN Messenger, at least, you have to associate a Passport account with your XP user account, so no, Passport is not exactly dead.

    .NET My Services, formerly Halistorm, is (currently) dead. The computing industry and target clients essentially told MS where to shove it.
  • Re:Confusion? (Score:5, Informative)

    by esarjeant (100503) on Friday January 10, 2003 @07:28PM (#5059463) Homepage
    TBPH, I think Microsoft is attempting to conquor the elusive remote object invocation problem.

    At first, it seemed like some version of RPC might solve this problem. And then a little bit later, developers were promised that CORBA was the future. Somewhere in there OSF/DCE made a lot of promises. And then Microsoft threw COM out there, and tried to spruce up some security issues with COM+...

    Eventually EJB took hold, and now we have yet another way to remotely invoke objects via SOAP.

    While things are looking up, I think most developers are fairly frustrated at this point. After grappling with IDL's and disparate RPC mechanisms, IUnknown and VisualBasic... I think unless there is a conserted effort by the industry to address remote object invocations (including a robust security model) then all of these attempts will continue to flounder.
  • Re:What is .NET? (Score:3, Informative)

    by harvardian (140312) on Friday January 10, 2003 @08:20PM (#5059784)
    ASP.NET is "a compiled .NET Framework-based environment" (from gotdotnet.com) -- so basically it's a subset of the Framework with its own quirks like .aspx files that automatically compile. To illustrate this point, Response.Write() from ASP has turned into System.Web.HttpResponse.Write() in ASP.NET. So all of ASP.NET's functionality is in the global namespace, and ASP.NET can access the rest of the namespace hierarchy like any other program.

    Also, the entire .NET Framework is designed with XML-based services in mind, not just ASP.NET. Most (all?) classes can be serialized and passed around to be discovered by reflection.

  • Re:.NET slapping. (Score:3, Informative)

    by harlows_monkeys (106428) on Friday January 10, 2003 @08:21PM (#5059793) Homepage
    Most languages can compile to jave bytecode


    A more accurate statement would be that for most languages, people have talked about compiling them into java bytecode, but for some reason, don't manage to do it.
    See this article [objectwatch.com] for details.

  • by rseuhs (322520) on Friday January 10, 2003 @08:55PM (#5059955)
    .NET is like Java, but it only runs de-facto on Microsoft platforms (in theory it will run on BSD too, but important parts are missing)
  • by Schnapple (262314) <<tomkidd> <at> <viatexas.com>> on Friday January 10, 2003 @08:59PM (#5059969) Homepage
    but really there was never a "Microsoft type" marketing push. Maybe because there wasn't a "product" to push?
    Well there was the .NET framework, the free C# and VB.NET compilers, and Visual Studio .NET - four products. All but one free. And of course there were the ECMA ratified C# and CLI standards. .NET is "something" and if you still don't get that Windows .NET Server was not all ther was to .NET you clearly haven't been reading some of these highly moderated comments.
  • Re:oops (Score:2, Informative)

    by devleopard (317515) on Friday January 10, 2003 @09:13PM (#5060053) Homepage
    Because they renamed the product? I wish everyone who pretended to know anything about .NET would read the excellent article over at Ars Technica [arstechnica.com]. At the same time, maybe the Microsoft marketing machine should read it as well. I'm sick of hearing people say that .NET is "software as a service", "Hailstorm", or the server technology. Other than having the classes loaded, the server is as much .NET as Solaris is Java. If Microsoft can get off of the buzzwords, .NET developers will have be able to establish their identity - currently, ".NET programmer" is about as specific as "GNU programmer".

    Hey! He's a .NET/GNU programmer, he can do _____________ (insert one of the many technologies associated with .NET/GNU here)
  • by nazgul000 (545727) on Friday January 10, 2003 @09:48PM (#5060231) Journal
    I see many "What is .NET" posts here. The best single whitepaper I've seen on .NET is by the Ars Technica folks:

    Microsoft .NET at Ars Technica [arstechnica.com]

    cheers.
  • The Real Del (Score:3, Informative)

    by Bird Watcher (640317) on Friday January 10, 2003 @10:32PM (#5060392)
    Ultimately the meaning behind any marketing term is somewhat arbitrary. When Apple came out with the Apple name, it initially didn't mean anything. Over the years it came to mean a lot in the minds of many people. That's kind of what a brand name is all about, right? .NET is the same thing only MS has done a very bad job defining it. Re-naming the Windows .net server is (perhaps) a step in the right direction. If you look at the leaked Q&A from the announcement, it seems very clear to me what they're doing. I'll try to explain in simple terms.

    1. In the beginning they announced .NET as a web services initiative - basically a way of writing software that uses XML, SOAP, WSDL etc. to allow apps to interoperate. A poor mans COM.

    2. The a bunch of marketing goofs started attaching the name to lots of things - most importantly the .net framework.

    3. The .net framework is - for all intensive purposes three things. First, it's a new programming model for Windows based on the common language runtime that makes it much easier to write secure, stable Windows appps. It also includes a new version of ASP that makes building web-based easier. It also includes facilities that for building XML web services and a bunch of new class libraries for Windows and web apps.

    4. The big mistake they made was putting .net into the name of the framework because it confused everyone. To people who can't read the tea leaves, it suggests that any appliacation built ising the framework is a ".net app." In reality, most of the apps built using the .net framework today are just better, more secure Windows apps or ASP/web-based apps.

    With the announcement they said in clear terms that the .net brand is about Web services interop. They obviously still want people to build Windows apps and are making it easier to do so than it has been with Win32/MFC etc. So they're building web services capability deep into their platform -into Windows, into Office I'm sure and into all of their server apps.

    For developers this is a beautiful thing. They can take it or leave it. They choose to build on Windows based on its merits. Market opportunity, ease of development or whatever. Some may ultimately choose to build on Windows because Windows has good XML web services support.

    I think MS's strategy is to continue to make Windows as good as they can and compete with J2 by providing superior support for web services. The theory (just a theory) is that if web services mature then developers can choose whatever platform they want and rely on web services to stitch things together across platforms. This could be a good strategy because it undermines the Java-only argument. No need to build apps on a single platform (middleware platform in this case) because web services provide good cross plat interop.

    So, the bottom line is that MS is narrowing what .net is to web services/interop. The .net framework programming model/CLR etc is, fundamentally a Windows thing. No surprise, right?

    That said, MS is taking parts of the .net framework/CLR programming model and porting it to other platforms. That way they can try to lure ISV's to build "Windows apps" that run on other platforms. I know. Sounds confusing but I think this is accurate.

    This is way MS, IBM and other companies are so excited about web services and why others - particularly SUN, have been a little slow on the uptake. Although this is overly simplistic, Sun/the J2 crowd basically want everything to be Java/J2. IBM will sell anything to anyone. MS wants to make Windows the most attractive platform.

    Gosh, this almost sounds like good old competition to me.

    Sorry for the ramble but, mark my words, this is the correct interpretation.

  • Re:Confusion? (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 11, 2003 @12:47AM (#5060869)
    Sounds like .Net = COM objects. If that's the case, why don't people just describe .NET this way?

    The reason why people don't describe ".NET" as COM objects is because it encompasses so much more that just an object standard. I'm not sure, but I doubt there's too many hashtable com objects, or array list objects, etc... Most people would probably regard QIing & ref counting for these things too much. But ".NET" (really the part of .NET we're talking about w.r.t. COM is the CLR) offers that all and more. And it exposes all of it through COM (eg, ArrayList's CLSID is {6896B49D-7AFB-34DC-934E-5ADD38EEEE39}).

    On the other hand, COM and the CLR address the same problem and they are amazingly interoperable. They both are a means to offer reusable objects. But .NET adds to COM a whole bunch of metadata that allow neat things to happen. It adds garbage collection - no more ref counting, no more CoTaskMemAlloc. No more QIing. No more class factories. And it's designed to work across languages better than COM.

    And the reason why, despite all these cool changes, the two seem similar is that the CLR is
    the COM+ Runtime [idevresource.com]. That link discusses Visual Studio 7, COM+ 2.0 (including the COM+ Runtime), and Fusion 2.0 ("Solving DLL Hell"). Today we have VS.NET for VS7. We get fusion.dll w/ the .NET Framework. And we get the COM+ Runtime in the CLR.

    But to answer your question no one realizes it because of marketing :)
  • by plover (150551) on Saturday January 11, 2003 @03:01AM (#5061275) Homepage Journal
    and you just missed a golden opportunity to enlighten us all...

    Fine, then I'll do it.

    .NET the "language" is an intermediate language bytecode called IL (Intermediate Language). You can produce it from any .NET compiler. The bytecode that is "JITted" (Just In Time compiled) at runtime as needed. The runtime environment is a process called the CLR (Common Language Runtime.)

    .NET the framework also contains the system class, which exposes all of the available platform functionality. Those of you who use the Win32 API, Platform SDK, DDK, etc., know just how big this class is. It's fairly well organized.

    The biggest advantage to the platform for develpers is absolute type declarations with full knowledge at the object interface: if you write an object method in VB.NET that takes two Integers, a String, and an array of Dates and returns an Integer value, then you can directly refer to that method in your C# routine. There is no conversion needed between types, not even between languages, which has historically been a problem with Microsoft code ever since OLE.

    .NET also fully supports exporting and importing these objects via SOAP.

    Visual Studio .NET is a development IDE for all the Microsoft .NET languages: VB.NET, C#, and others. It's similar to Microsoft's Visual Studio 6.0, but all the separate components are better integrated. All languages compile together to produce a single "package", which you then ship to your customers. There are no "installations" as the package is self contained. And it still includes a native C++ compiler which can still emit code for any Windows platform (except for .NET...)

    Microsoft says the combination of the above puts all languages on an equal footing: developers can code in whatever language suits them. (Since it's interpreted bytecodes, I think it makes all languages equally second class, but that's just me.) So with .NET language is not a barrier to function calls. You want to call method "Foo" on an object called "Bar"? You just do it in your working language, however that language invokes methods on objects. You don't know when you're writing it what language it will be called from. You don't worry when you're calling it what language it was written in.

    That's the developers' carrot in a nutshell. And so here's the developers' stick: Everything is shipped as bytecodes in that package, and the supplied decompiler already spits out source code that's only missing some of the documentation. I asked the guy during the .NET product introduction "How is intellectual property protected if anyone can just decompile the code?" The answer started out evasive, but boiled down to: We [Microsoft] will be serving up our meat-and-potatoes functionality via the web, so our code is hidden behind our firewall. Come, join us. You do not know the power of the dark side. (OK, so maybe the guy didn't say that last line, or at least not out loud.)

    On the whole, I was semi-impressed at the product introduction. Having strong type safety is really a good thing to me, because I do spend time fighting code that has been carelessly cast, and I also spend time converting from VARIANT arrays of UI1 to STD::strings. Automated garbage collection and automagic reference counting is also really nice. But interpreted languages haven't been exciting to me since GW-BASIC. (Sorry, you Java weenies, but I'm too old to think wasting cycles interpreting bytecodes in front of a user at run time is ever a good thing.) And C# is not C++, nor is it Java. I don't like that IL will only do its own random-time garbage collection and can not support destructors, not even virtual destructors. There are times when I want to garbage collect at a specific point in time (examples such as cleaning up scarce resources like database connections or sockets come easily to mind.)

    But I really, really don't like that .NET is ultimately just a facade to hide the movement of software to the subscription model under Palladium. Want to print that Word document? Did you tithe Microsoft this month? Nope? Too bad. Are you still offline? Too bad, you can't run PowerPoint.NET until you're back online and we can check the status of your subscription (or at least check the status of your Visa card authorization.) .NET will make Palladium viable, since the CLR is a trusted software container (read: sandbox.)

    So, on the whole, .NET has too many really huge negatives to get me going. It even caused me to ditch my MSDN subscription because it had become "Nothing but .NET" Literally.

  • by Jugalator (259273) on Saturday January 11, 2003 @06:26AM (#5061709) Journal
    .NET the "language" is an intermediate language bytecode called IL (Intermediate Language). (...) .NET the framework also contains the system class, which exposes all of the available platform functionality.

    .NET is the platform and more like the "thinking". There's no ".NET, the language", since .NET is just a concept. There's no ".NET, the framework" either; its title is simply ".NET Framework".

    Microsoft describes what .NET is:

    ".NET is the Microsoft solution for XML Web services, the next generation of software that connects our world of information, devices, and people in a unified, personalized way. .NET technology enables the creation and use of XML-based applications, processes, and Web sites as services that share and combine information and functionality with each other by design, on any platform or smart device, to provide tailored solutions for organizations and individual people. .NET is a comprehensive family of products, built on industry and Internet standards, that provide for each aspect of developing (tools), managing (servers), using (building block services and smart clients) and experiencing (rich user experiences) XML Web services. .NET will become part of the Microsoft applications, tools, and servers you already use today--as well as new products that extend XML Web service capabilities to all of your business needs."

    There's nothing more to it than that, really -- .NET is Microsoft's platform that directly supports and allow creation of XML-based applications and web services. Also read this [microsoft.com], it might clear things up.
  • Re:Confusion? (Score:3, Informative)

    by shyster (245228) <brackettNO@SPAMufl.edu> on Saturday January 11, 2003 @03:54PM (#5063200) Homepage
    I'm not sure you understand here. The .NET Framework is a collection of objects (similar to the Win32 API's) that all .NET managed code has access to. Managed .NET code must be written with certain constraints, however.

    C++ is not designed with these constraints in mind. Managed C++ is, basically, C++ following those constraints (and is a mess). C# is a new language designed around those constraints, using similar syntax to C++ and Java (to make it easier to learn). VB.NET is a rewrite of Visual Basic that gives it a lot of the power of C++, but retains some of VB's simpler syntax (to make it easier to learn). They're not different only in syntax, though...there are differences in rules and functions as well. Sure, you can write programs that do the same things in VB.NET as in C#, but some things are easier in one than the other...which has pretty much always been the case with different programming languages.

    Standard C++ can be compiled with /clr and will be compiled to IL bytecode, therefore using CLR. You can not, however, use standard C++ to access the .NET Framework...that requires managed C++ (or another .NET safe language).

    But, C# and VB.NET aren't the only languages out there. ActiveState has Python.NET and Perl.NET, there's COBOL.NET, Fortran.NET, Forth.NET, and even Pascal.NET (and many others).

    But, managed code is a new addition to .NET that requires some adoptions in the programming languages. Why didn't MS port C++ or VB6 to .NET? They pretty much did...it's called Visual C++.NET [microsoft.com] and Visual Basic.NET [microsoft.com].

    Like I said, if you're not a Windows developer (which you don't seem to be), then this largely means nothing to you.

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