In All Seriousness

This is a discussion on In All Seriousness within the A Brief History of Cprogramming.com forums, part of the Community Boards category; People have asked me what exactly .NET offeres, what are it's advantages. If I could answer this in full I ...

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    In All Seriousness

    People have asked me what exactly .NET offeres, what are it's advantages. If I could answer this in full I would be writing a book believe me but the truth is that I only got the compiler last week and have been reading about .NET for about 9 days. Don't blame me if there is some misinformation because it is my style to put stuff in my own words.

    Common Language Runtime (CLR)

    The programs that you compile in VS.NET are not the same, that is, the executable files themselves are different. They are now portable executables composed of assemblies and manifests (special identities). They are designed to be managed by the common language runtime (an execution environment). The common language runtime manages memory (garbage collecter), performs security (code verification), ensures robustness (just in time compiling), remoting, etc. Hence the term 'managed code'.


    The .NET Class Library

    A comprehesive object oriented library of reusable classes which targets all types of applications (projects) including web services, console, etc. In the past where you would open a file in C++ one way but in C you would use different code to open a file, and in yet another language opening a file would involve more different commands. Well the .NET Class Library allows all languages to open a file the same way. They all can use methods from the same library. So this is definately different.

    But this is nothing, this is not a dent in the changes that you will find in transitioning to .NET. Ofcourse the new IDE is awesome. You have never seen such a rich IDE. This is nothing! .NET is a new methodology. I am trying to put it together but it will take a long time. Could use some help.
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    So... Cross language, not cross platform? I don't need to use other languages too often... The benefits are minimal for me. Then again, for others it might be a plus. I prefer portability.
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    It is also cross platform through SOAP and XML. I'm learning more about that.

    No, .NET is very powerful. It also offers a new methodology that will likely transform the internet.
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    What's the new methodology?

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    SOAP and XML don't make it cross platform. It's just a way for computers to communicate and make requests.

    Maybe it will transform the internet, but at it's heart the internet is just data, usually static. The only thing .NET will help to do is make the dynamic stuff better.. like stock tickers, etc.. Or at least as far as I've heard.

    I also understand that .NET is supposed to make it easier for programs to retrieve data off of the internet in a format that programs can understand. This will only work, if the data providers spend time to make that so, of course... I doubt we'll see an overnight revolution.
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    Yes and no.

    The programmer will have to adopt a new methodology when he writes code because clients will be able to use his data within their applications. This does not require much work. In .NET it is just a tag but will require a new way of thinking which will in turn provide much more functionality out of a single application. SOAP is system independant and is a very dynamic way to transfer rich data. You will see .NET being adopted by Linux before very long and they will have a CLR.Almost like a search engine there will be an open source of web services that can be searched. I'm trying to understand that part still and I know that I said this a bit wrong. The whole .NET concept is very massive.

    It's much more than cross platform.
    Last edited by Witch_King; 08-27-2001 at 08:02 AM.
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    I know SOAP and XML are open technologies; they've been available for Linux for quite a while now...

    The thing is, the data has to conform to *some* standard to be read. And that goes for data off of websites.

    Data needs formatting until we make a program that can parse english for information. Until then, or unless everyone decides on a standard information format, web services are still going to have to be custom designed, client and server. And so will their sources of information.
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    That's why .NET is such a valuable investment. It will allow applications to become smart applications. Extensible Markup Languages can hold details of a design, it can store information not just images, this will enable smart communication. I won't pretend to know everything about SOAP and XML like yourself. I have a teacher who believe that he can beat 30,000 employees by himself! I don't listen to him because it isn't the best investment.
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    I'm not pretending to know everything about SOAP and XML, especially SOAP of which I know little.

    But XML is just TAGS. Custom defined tags yes, but TAGS. How will applications magically understand what is inside? How will it allow every application to suddenly become data aware? It allows transport of lots of well structured data, and my point was that ONLY if programs are specially made to understand this data it's useless. That's all. And .NET has nothing to do with it.
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    We are going too far. I have watched the video on this and read a bit of stuff but this is into the heart of .NET. Files produced when you compile your programs are very different than anything we used to know. The turn information inside out and can produce just about anything. I'd like to say more but I'll have to continue to read. I have a midterm exam today and tomorrow so I'll have to wait a few days.
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    SOAP of which I know little.
    SOAP is just an XML schema. It specifies an XML dialect for the client, which translates to a function call on the server. This function does something (presumably), and returns data in the form of another SOAP packet. Therefore, it's a kind of RPC, just like DCOM, CORBA etc.

    Since SOAP is an 'open standard', lots of libraries have been developed to work with it - including one for .NET.

    But XML is just TAGS. Custom defined tags yes, but TAGS. How will applications magically understand what is inside? How will it allow every application to suddenly become data aware?
    That's not the point. The point is that if an application writes XML, through a defined schema, it becomes possible - even easy - to read that format and produce a program (or client) to work on the data. Imagine if Excel files were XML - you could use any language, any platform, to read Excel files and make sense of the data, without having to decode a complex file format. Wouldn't you say that was an improvement?

    As for .NET, it consists of three things:
    * Two new languages: C# and VB.NET.
    * A processor- and OS-independent code format.
    * A large class library.

    That's all it is. It is not the be-all and end-all of programming; it has its good and bad points, just like everything else. It's certainly not "very different than anything we used to know" (we had UCSD p-code a long, long time ago). Still, it's a step in the right direction (and quite a few more than Java).

    As an aside, I fail to understand why Linux programmers aren't ecstatic about a fully-documented platform that they can freely emulate...
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    I think that .NET is a large upgrade the previous version of Visual Studio. Significantly more has been done than just a fancier IDE (although the IDE IS way better) and it isn't exactly a one day or week transition, at least not for myself. There is a lot to understand in order to effectively use .NET. The applications that programmers produce will have to take in mind new concepts having to do with internet communication with other programs, yet at the same time you can write traditional applications or else an application that is a combination of the two. VS.NET offers a lot of new features that I've been waiting for because I want more power. The fact is that a single individual programmer has a lot more ability to write better applications, because he can work at a higher level, you just has to learn how to use new tools that make this possible. Much like learning C++, I have discovered that working at a higher level has put 'C' (a lower level language) in better perspective, I have a deeper understanding.

    .NET also carries deep connotations about how the internet might shape up in the future. If I must be a more ardent proponent of .NET than Sunlight, than so be it.
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    Cool

    hmm CLR, what does that remind me of oh yeah that damn java runtime enviroment that i have to download every damn time i want to run a java program. Hmm lets think about this which would be better writing my code without .net so that ppl who want to use it dont have to download this CLR, or write it and make everyone who wants to use my program, who isnt using winXP, go through the hassle of downloading this CLR. Thanks for giving me a reason to stay with VisStudio 6

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    No problem. I hope you stay with VC6. You can also write unmanaged code in VS.NET but you are probably not interested.
    Last edited by Witch_King; 08-27-2001 at 09:29 PM.
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