What is That Microsoft .NET Anyway?
Defining Microsoft's New Online Product Strategy
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. What this means is that Microsoft wants everyone to migrate to the Internet for software and services.

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 that are intended to meet a broad spectrum 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.

.NET Experiences


.NET Experiences are XML Web services that allow you to access information across the Internet and from standalone applications in an integrated way that saves you time and money. Microsoft will deliver .NET Experiences for individuals and for businesses. Some of the products that Microsoft is transitioning into .NET Experiences are MSN(r), bCentral(tm), and Visual Studio .NET.


* MSN Web site

* bCentral Web site

* Visual Studio .NET Web site



Clients are PCs, laptops, workstations, phones, handheld computers, Tablet PCs, game consoles, and other smart devices. What makes these devices "smart" is their ability to access XML Web services. Smart clients use software that supports XML Web services, and enable you to access your data regardless of the location, type, and number of clients you use. Some of the .NET client software Microsoft will offer are: Windows CE, Windows Embedded, Window 2000, and the upcoming Windows XP. This software will power PCs, laptops, workstations, smart phones, handheld computers, Tablet PCs, and XBox game consoles.


* Office XP Web site

* Windows XP Web site

* Mobility Web site

* Devices Web site



In addition to developers creating XML Web services, Microsoft is creating a core set of building block services that perform routine tasks and act as the backbone for developers to build upon. The first set of XML Web services being built, codenamed "HailStorm", is user-centric services oriented around people, rather than specific devices, networks, or applications. "HailStorm" is based upon the Microsoft Passport user authentication system. With "HailStorm", users receive relevant information, as they need it, delivered to the devices they're using, and based on preferences they have established.

Web sites vs. XML Web services
Web sites are about presenting information to a user: they are the communication vehicle for servers to talk to users. XML Web services offer a direct means for applications to interact with other applications. Applications hosted internally, as well as on remote systems, can communicate via the Internet by using XML and SOAP messages.


* HailStorm White paper

* Microsoft Passport Web site

* MSDN's Developer Center for XML Web services


The .NET Enterprise Servers, including the Windows 2000 server family, make up Microsoft .NET's server infrastructure for deploying, managing, and orchestrating XML Web services. Designed with mission-critical performance in mind, they provide enterprises with the agility they need to integrate their systems, applications, and partners through XML Web services, and the flexibility to adapt to changing business requirements. The .NET Enterprise Servers are:

* Application Center 2000 to deploy and manage highly available and scalable Web applications;

* BizTalk(tm) Server 2000 to build XML-based business processes across applications and organizations;

* Commerce Server 2000 for quickly building scalable e-commerce solutions;

* Content Management Server 2001 to manage content for dynamic e-business Web sites;

* Exchange Server 2000 to enable messaging and collaboration, anytime, anywhere;

* Host Integration Server 2000 for bridging to data and applications on legacy systems;

* Internet Security and Acceleration Server 2000 for secure, fast Internet connectivity;

* Mobile Information 2001 Server to enable application support by mobile devices like cell phones;

* SharePoint Portal Server 2001 to find, share, and publish business information; and

* SQL Server(tm) 2000 to store, retrieve, and analyze structured XML data.


* .NET Enterprise Servers Web site

* TechNet Web site

* Books about .NET from the Microsoft Press Web site

* Training on .NET from the Training and Certification Web site

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