.NET Guru: Larry Grothaus
|This week, Stephen Ibaraki, I.S.P.,
speaks with Larry Grothaus, Lead Product Manager,
.NET Enterprise Solutions, evangelist of the
Microsoft .NET Enterprise server and development
Q. What is .NET and how can it be implemented today,
in 2002, in 2004, in 2005 and how does it link to
XML Web Services?
A. .NET is Microsoft’s platform for XML Web services
and is comprised of several pieces including
development tools, infrastructure servers, building
block services, and the clients needed to deliver an
end-to-end rich experience. Building distributed
applications using XML Web services is largely
recognized as the next major paradigm shift in
computing and Microsoft is a leader in working with
the industry bodies to develop the standards
required to build make XML Web service a reality.
Today, these standards include UDDI, WSDL, SOAP,
XML, HTTP and TCP/IP.
The benefit of using XML Web services today is that
it provides an Internet-native way to connect
business systems together – this allows enterprises
to solve their most difficult integration issues.
Businesses can easily and quickly connect their
multitude of disparate internal applications, as
well as deeply integrate their systems with those of
their partners and customers, regardless of vendor,
platform or development language. Longer term, XML
Web services will enable a new generation of
business and consumer solutions that put the user in
control of their personal network of communication
devices and applications.
Today, .NET is being implemented by a variety of
customers, such as Dollar Rent-A-Car, Scandinavian
Airlines System (SAS) and EmpowerNet, to name a few.
These customers are using .NET to create and deploy
XML Web services enabling them to achieve greater
business efficiencies and to build better
relationships with business partners.
Q. What does .NET mean for developers today, in
2002, in 2004, and in 2005?
A. With .NET, developers have the broadest and
deepest platform for XML Web services in the
industry. This platform includes enterprise servers,
device software, a set of XML Web services that act
as building blocks, and tools and middleware – all
built from the ground up for XML Web services. The
biggest, near-term step forward is the new tools and
middleware, Microsoft Visual Studio .NET and the
Microsoft .NET Framework, that help developers to
easily and quickly build, secure, deploy, run and
scale XML Web services.
Visual Studio .NET is the next generation of
Microsoft's popular multi-language development
environment. Developers, using Visual Studio .NET,
can quickly build XML Web services and applications
that scale out using their language of choice.
Visual Studio.NET advances the high-productivity
programming languages Visual Basicï¿½, which includes
new object oriented programming features; Visual
C++ï¿½, which advances Windows development and enables
you to build .NET applications; and C#, which brings
RAD to the C and C++ developer. With JUMP, Microsoft
will provide additional tools enabling developers
using the Java language to be productive on the .NET
platform. In addition to the Microsoft language
offerings, third-parties are delivering over 20
additional languages including COBOL, FORTRAN, PERL,
Eiffel, and Python that support the .NET platform.
The .NET Framework is a high-productivity,
standards-based, multi-language application
execution environment that handles essential
plumbing chores and eases deployment, scalability
and reliability. It provides an application
execution environment that manages memory, addresses
versioning issues, and improves the reliability,
scalability, and security of your application. The
.NET Framework consists of several parts, including
the Common Language Runtime, a rich set of class
libraries for building XML Web services, and ASP
For developers these new tools and middleware mean
that they can use a familiar set of tools and a
variety of languages to quickly build, deploy, and
run XML Web services, with the added benefit of
allowing them to leverage their existing development
language skills and knowledge base.
The Microsoft .NET Enterprise Servers are available
today with deep support for XML across the entire
family and targeted support for SOAP and other
related XML Web services standards where
appropriate. Visual Studio .NET and the .NET
Framework will be available by the end of this year.
Other new elements of the .NET platform, such as the
“Hailstorm” set of XML Web services will start to be
available next year.
Q. Can you provide a road map for future XML Web
A. While Microsoft was the first platform vendor to
deliver production support for XML Web services in
its offerings, over the next year, most of the rest
of the leading platform vendors will follow suit
with their own implementations of XML Web services.
As all of the major platform vendors implement XML
Web services, the benefits of seamless,
cross-platform integration will become more and more
of a reality for customers.
Another important effort critical to the future of
XML Web services is the additional work taking place
in the standards and industry bodies to further
flesh out the key standards that make up the XML Web
services architecture. In order to speed up the rate
of adoption, and make XML Web services truly
ubiquitous, there is work that needs to be done in
areas such as security, privacy and transactions.
The work on these standards will complete in the
next year, but over the next few years, there will
continue to be a great deal of cross-industry work
Finally, while many enterprises are taking advantage
of Microsoft’s XML Web services platform today, so
to are many application developers (ISVs). As these
ISV solutions come to market with their XML Web
services-based solutions, more and more businesses
and individuals will find that they are gaining the
benefits of a new, connected world – enabled by XML
Web services. .NET and XML Web services represents a
tremendous industry opportunity and the many tens
thousands of solutions that Microsoft anticipates
our partners will build on the .NET platform will
fundamentally change the way people experience
Q. What are the capabilities of the new SOAP Toolkit
and why would developers be interested?
A. The Microsoft Simple Object Access Protocol
(SOAP) Toolkit 2.0 consists of:
All together, this toolkit helps developers using
Microsoft’s currently shipping tools, Visual Studio
6.0, to easily create industrial-strength XML Web
services solutions. While many companies have beta
code or proof-of-concepts for XML Web services,
Microsoft is the only platform vendor to ship fully
supported production tools for XML Web services.
- A client-side component that allows an
application to invoke XML Web services.
- A server-side component that maps COM object
methods to XML Web service operations.
- Additional components that automate the
construction, transmission, and processing of
- A tool that generates WSDL and WSML files,
relieving developers of the tedious process of
manually creating such files.
Q. How is Native SOAP Support for Windows XP
A. XML Web services support in Windows XP comes in
two forms. First, Windows XP includes the Microsoft
XML and SOAP processing engines that all Microsoft
developers depend upon. This means that developers
can easily build client applications using XML Web
services to access data and services over the
Internet. Second, Windows XP includes native support
for Microsoft first building block service:
Passport. This integration will help users to take
advantage of this new generation of ISV XML Web
services-based solutions – particularly those
designed to help consumers manage their personal
information and their collection of communications
Q. How does Hailstorm fit into .NET?
A. As previously discussed, building block services
such as Passport and “Hailstorm” are a key element
of .NET, Microsoft’s platform for XML Web services.
“Hailstorm” is the codename for a set of
user-centric XML Web services which are oriented
around people, instead of a specific device,
application, service, or network. Passport is an XML
Web service that allows Web sites and other XML Web
services to authenticate a users identity, and it
allows users to seamlessly and centrally control
their logon information to all Passport
authenticated sites and services. These to XML Web
services put users in control of their own
information and applications and enable access at
anytime from any web connected device - whether it
is a desktop PC, mobile phone, PDA, or other device.
Q. Can you talk about Sharepoint Technologies?
A. Microsoft SharePoint is a set of two new
offerings that were developed to facilitate
information sharing both within organizations and
over the Internet: Microsoft SharePoint Portal
Server 2001 and SharePoint Team Services. When
organizations use SharePoint Team Services and
SharePoint Portal Server 2001, they can address the
information-sharing challenges for both the large
and small groups within their enterprise. Together,
the SharePoint technologies give users the ability
to organize information, readily access that
information, manage documents, and enable efficient
collaboration—all in a familiar, browser-based and
Microsoft Office-integrated environment.
SharePoint Team Services gives users the ability to
create and contribute to team and project-focused
Web sites. Team Services is ideal for small groups
and/or ad hoc communication and ships as part of
SharePoint Portal Server is a flexible intranet
portal solution that allows you to easily find,
share, and publish information. Portal Server
combines three distinct capabilities in one product:
a customizable portal platform, search/index
technology, and document management. SharePoint
Portal Server gives organizations the ability to
search and index information across the
organization, including SharePoint Team Services Web
sites. Portal Server is a standalone server product.
SharePoint is a member of the .NET Enterprise
servers, Microsoft’s family of server products
designed to provide the broadest and deepest
foundation for building, managing, deploying,
securing, scaling and orchestrating business
applications as well as XML Web services. At the
core of the .NET Enterprise Servers is Windows 2000.
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