.NET -- an initiative by Microsoft

A massive early 21st Century initiative by Microsoft. It includes at least three somewhat hazily defined elements: The least nebulous is a .NET software development/deployment environment. The second is a moderately universal data interchange process for Internet/Intranet information based on an information identification scheme known as XML and an interchange protocol called SOAP. The third is a collection of interlocked Internet based services built around a single customer data base and user login.

The .NET software development platform is embodied in Visual Studio .NET. It consists of a new programming Language called C# ("C-Sharp"); A new set of class libraries; a new Windows API; a common byte code based Intermediate Language called CLA; and compilers for a variety of existing languages that compile to the .NET CLA. Some aspects of the APIs and Class Libraries are registered with an arms length standards body. The CLA is conceptually similar to Sun's Java byte code and J2EE development platform. Java/J2EE is not compatible with .NET at the class/API/binary level. An open source initiative called Mono is intended to be .NET class/API/binary compatible.

The .NET Internet Document exchange effort is based on Extended MetaLanguage (XML) encoding of documents and a Microsoft document exchange format called SOAP that transfers XML information using the ubiquitous HyperText Transfer Protocol (HTTP).

The .NET Services initiative is built around a single, secure Login, user interface that then meters out information from a secure data base to a variety of free and for fee services. The general codeword for this effort is "Hailstorm. One core element is the existing Passport service. Major issues with .NET services revolve about the potential for Microsoft becoming a monopoly provider of such services, and the potential vulnerability of the user data base to penetration/sabotage.

Return To Index Copyright 1994-2002 by Donald Kenney.