The Design of Software (CLOSED)

A public forum for discussing the design of software, from the user interface to the code architecture. Now closed.

The "Design of Software" discussion group has been merged with the main Joel on Software discussion group.

The archives will remain online indefinitely.

What exactly is .NET?

What exactly is .NET? On, I can only find reams of corporate doublespeak. As far as I can tell, .NET refers to the idea of having various types of languages compile into an intermediate Microsoft pseudocode, so that modules written in different languages can all execute within the same process and talk to each other without IPC.

It also seems to refer to the vast libraries like "HttpRequest" which allow programmers to instantiate several thousand lines of assembly code in a single line.

Is any of this right? What have I missed?

Confused Student
Rick Send private email
Wednesday, February 02, 2005
It is one of the recent "next big things". You might want to check out for a less marketing and more IT idea about what .NET is.
Wednesday, February 02, 2005
In a nutshell it's a big API built on top of Win32.  There are a few other pieces:
1. C++, C#, VB, and other .Net languages are parsed into a single language similar to java's bytecode, which is then compiled to create your app.
2. MS wants to standardize some of the classes in a process similar to the STL.  I think they will then release .Net (and maybe visual studio) for mac or even (shudder) linux.  They know that with the web the operating system matters less and less and they want people still developing their apps using MS products first.
3. It provides a single set of classes for web dev (ASP.Net), or PC dev (VB, C#, etc).  The form classes are unique, but a web app uses the same dataset class as a normal app.  Can be very convenient, and makes it almost easy to move a .Net desktop app to the web.
Joel Coehoorn
Wednesday, February 02, 2005
try google

Wednesday, February 02, 2005
Think of it as a wrapper around Windows.

Someday it may be truely cross platform.
Mark Jerde Send private email
Wednesday, February 02, 2005

That's a really good question. I've been asked it by customers many times. When the term ".NET" was originally coined by Microsoft it was a pure marketing term. It was generally taken to mean Microsoft's future strategy to "connect information, people, systems and devices through software". Apparently it still means that:

Well obviously we all want that. Unfortunately, Microsoft and its partners had difficulty promoting that message to customers. Customers generally want to hear about tangible products or services that they can realise benefit from, not high level statements of strategy.

What followed next was that the term ".NET" became attached to the next version of many of Microsoft's products. Windows was going to be rebranded as ".NET" along with just about every other software product that Microsoft produced. This made it easier to promote ".NET" to customers because you could associate it with a named software product. Unfortunately, because the ".NET" branding was being plastered on almost all of Microsoft's products, the marketing message became very diluted, almost to the point of futility.

In the last year or so, Microsoft appears to have abandoned the idea of branding every product as ".NET". Now, in general, and particularly on this board, ".NET" usually means the .NET Framework (including ASP.NET) and the associated development environment. The .NET Framework is a run-time environment which you seem to have found something about on the Microsoft web site and which the posters above have described.
Mike Green Send private email
Wednesday, February 02, 2005
Microsoft originally used the .NET suffix to denote an entire range of products released around the same time, taking the "DNA" marketspeak to the next level. For instance what ended up being Windows Server 2003 was original named Windows Server.NET. The idea being that .NET was an all encompassing "connected technologies" infrasture, and .NET was the combination of the languages, the platform, and the applications providing a super duper integrated solution.

Thankfully the marketing people have been reigned in, and Visual Studio 2005 is Visual Studio 2005 (the .NET has been dropped). We know that .NET was dropped from Windows Server 2003. When you normally hear about .NET now it usually means the .NET Framework which includes both the class libraries, as well as the VM, IL, and so on.
Dennis Forbes
Wednesday, February 02, 2005
.NET is a ripoff of Java.
Kyralessa Send private email
Wednesday, February 02, 2005

It looks like our posts crossed. I'm glad we both seem to be seeing the same landscape when we watch Microsoft and its not just me.
Mike Green Send private email
Wednesday, February 02, 2005
.NET is to Java what Internet Explorer was to Netscape. Many of the libraries look and operate in eerily similar ways, and C# even looks pretty much the same.

Java was lauded as the second coming of Christ in software form before its inception, too. Some marketing guy described it as a tool to 'singlehandedly realign world economies'. I think he meant to say 'allow teenagers to play videogames on their celphones singlehandedly'.
Colm O'Connor Send private email
Wednesday, February 02, 2005
If ".NET is to Java what Internet Explorer was to Netscape", then I have to wonder what would be the equivalent of Firefox...
Aaron F Stanton Send private email
Wednesday, February 02, 2005
".NET is a ripoff of Java"

.Net is what Java should have been...

Sorry... couldn't resist...
TownDrunk Send private email
Wednesday, February 02, 2005
> Someday it may be truely cross platform.

Only if Microsoft licenses the patented parts of .NET to an open source project.

Anyone want to bet on who has to die before that'll happen?

As for what it is: I believe the technical term is "fire and motion".  :)

Wednesday, February 02, 2005
.Net is the modern reincarnation of p-Code. In the 80s, Microsoft C, Pascal, and Professional Basic compiled programs to p-Code which was run by a tiny VM embedded in the generated .com and.exe files.

p-Code was elegant and solved a real problem: it was more compact than the equivalent native machine code. Microsoft could advertise proudly that its software requires only 256KB of memory.

At the contrary, .Net creates problems and is bloated. Microsoft now proudly writes in the requirements of its software "won't run with less than 512 MB".

The world is changing guys :-) I think it's high time to retire...
Developer next door
Wednesday, February 02, 2005
".NET is what java should have been"

Actually, .NET is a platform-specific version of what java would be if Sun had the luxury of re-writing with lessons learned from the early years of java. Anders Hjelsberg had the luxury of doing just that. His Turbo Pascal 1.0 and Delphi were both much more innovative.

Mono is the CLR (.NET VM) on Linux.

Read Tim Ewald's take on java:
fool for python
Thursday, February 03, 2005
His Turbo Pascal 1.0 and Delphi were both much more innovative *than c#*.
fool for python
Thursday, February 03, 2005
a large collection of buzz words

I like development in it though
Thursday, February 03, 2005
The late Windows DNA became Dot Net Architecture. In practice one can write code in C# or and theoretically end up with the same performance.

Supposedly many things like the underlying APIs will change when Longhorn ships in November of 2006.

Only the engineer of the API train can see what lies ahead. We passengers can just look out the windows to the side. Whether the journey is enjoyed or endured is a matter of personal experience.
Mike Drips Send private email
Thursday, February 03, 2005
.NET is a paid version of Java.  It has a better IDE,  and a spoiled rude company to call when you have problems.  I said "call" not "solve problems".
Java and .NET developer
Thursday, February 03, 2005
What is .NET (partical explanations):
* An upgrade to Visual Basic, which is a very useful and popular language, but which lacks many features.
* A competitor to Java. Microsoft needed a server-side, garbage collecting language to compete with the very successful Java.
* A tool that aims to amalgamate all languages and all platforms into one. In the altruistic reincarnation of computing, developers write in any language and on any platform and .NET becomes the vehicle that allows all the disparate tools to come together.
* A very large collection of well formed classes that deals with modern computing/programmig requirements.
* An excellent tool in which to write Web Services.

What is .NET (cynical explanations):
* A great marketing tool for Microsoft.
* A way for Microsoft to extend it's dominance over a wider domain. The .NET concept spans the desktop, portable devices (smartphones/PPCs), embedded computing, and ultimately muliple operating systems.
* A way for Microsoft to give people an incentive to upgrade. With complete market dominance, the .NET innovation may ultimately force people to upgrade their PCs to use the latest and greatest .NET products. I see this as being even more the case when things such as XAML come into play.
Friday, February 04, 2005
Java and .NET developer,

I think you misunderstand what Java is.  You say that .NET 'has a better IDE' than Java which is clearly nonsensical.  That's like the Suez Crisis going out for tea.
Chris in Edmonton Send private email
Friday, February 04, 2005

second read is amusing
Sunday, February 06, 2005
Wednesday, September 29, 2004 post  I mean - sorry
Sunday, February 06, 2005

This topic is archived. No further replies will be accepted.

Other recent topics Other recent topics
Powered by FogBugz