LOS ANGELES, Oct. 23, 2001 — Thousands of person years and over 3 million cans of soda have gone into creating Microsoft’s .NET platform. What was all that time and soda for? Enabling the next generation of software, according to Microsoft. .NET is Microsoft’s answer to the new world of distributed computing, and its progress is being heralded here this week before more than 6,000 developers gathered for the company’s annual Professional Developers Conference (PDC).
Bill Gates, Microsoft chairman and chief software architect, speaks at the Professional Developers Conference 2001. Click on the photo to download a high resolution image
Some 16 months after unveiling .NET, Microsoft Chairman and Chief Software Architect Bill Gates announced in his keynote today that Microsoft is delivering on .NET amid surging support from the developer community. PDC attendees will go home with release candidates of Microsoft Visual Studio .NET and .NET Framework, the core development tools and programming model for the .NET platform. Attendees have also received technical previews for a wide range of forthcoming .NET technologies, including the first developers release of .NET My Services (formerly codenamed “HailStorm”) and the .NET Compact Framework, which brings .NET to a variety of “smart” devices. Gates called on developers to use these tools to create a new generation of distributed applications built on XML Web services.
Gates emphasized that developers are already using .NET to deliver solutions today. He announced that more than 5,000 developers had signed up for ASP.NET Go Live licenses, enabling them to deploy production solutions on the beta release of the .NET platform. At the same time, over 2.5 million developers are participating in the beta testing of Visual Studio .NET and the .NET Framework. Microsoft itself is running a number of major Internet services built with .NET platform technologies, including MSN Music, MSN eShop, MSN Yellow Pages, UDDI, Microsoft.com Search, gotdotnet.com and Office Update. Gates also pointed out that an entire industry ecosystem has emerged supporting .NET, including books, academic programs, component vendors, hosting services, magazines, programming languages, professional training classes, user groups and integration partners.
Since being the focus of last year’s Microsoft developer conference, XML Web services have taken center stage in the industry. Developers are using .NET, Microsoft’s platform for XML Web Services, to take advantage of new industry opportunities, while making use of tools and competencies already in place. A consistent programming model and development tools that span clients, servers and services enables a connected world where information gets communicated and shared across devices and organizational boundaries.
“With the .NET technology and infrastructure, Microsoft continues to demonstrate industry leadership while pioneering a new standards-based approach for achieving online business transformation,” says Kamran Kheirolomoom, president and CEO of Avinon. “Our NetScenario Platform fully integrates with Microsoft .NET so companies can leverage XML Web services to dynamically create differentiated online business services that deliver more targeted value to customers and partners.”
“Microsoft’s most cherished audience has always been the development community,” says Charles Fitzgerald, general manager of the Platform Strategy Group at Microsoft. “Our focus is on providing the infrastructure and tools to help make developers successful, and with .NET we are taking it to another level.”
At the PDC, Microsoft has shown how .NET empowers the developer community to capitalize on the tangible, long-term business value of the Internet.
“In the last five or six years of the Web craze, it was kind of a hardware-centric world,” Fitzgerald observes. “People cared about how big their server was or what kind of router they had. Now they are realizing that software is the foremost way to create and maintain both value and differentiation in the digital economy. At a time when businesses are more focused than ever on increasing efficiency, reducing costs and time to market, and growing the top and bottom lines, .NET is the platform that provides the best agility and productivity to build sustainable business value in software. And it lets you advantage of existing skills and investments. We have found this to be a compelling business proposition for developers and they are responding en masse.”
At the conference, Microsoft has outline how its investment in .NET is focused on three essential areas: XML Web Services, a shift to building distributed applications that span multiple technologies and organizations, and great user experiences.
The .NET platform builds on a foundation of XML Web services, providing an industry standard and Internet native mechanism for interoperability across platforms. Distributed applications address the shift in computing from centralized solutions to de-centralized solutions that run across client, servers and services and may also span multiple organizations. .NET unlocks the collaborative benefits of these solutions and provides a new breed of development tools for orchestrating clients, servers and services into one common direction. All of this is accomplished using open Internet standards so .NET solutions can extend these benefits into any environment that utilizes these standards. Great user experiences are facilitated via .NET by helping developers create rich end user value for their organizations, customers and employees. .NET enables deeper digital relationships with customers via smart clients and user-centric services, such as .NET My Services.
Of the announcements being made at PDC today, two of the most significant for developers are the release candidates of Visual Studio .NET and .NET Framework and the delivery of the .NET My Services SDK technology preview.
Visual Studio .NET and .NET Framework are the fundamental developer technologies for taking advantage of the new world of computing based on XML Web services. Delivery of the release candidates is the final milestone on the road to release.
.NET My Services brings new convenience and richness to consumers by increasing the utility and value of devices, applications and the Internet through greater customization based on personal data. Several new solutions utilizing the .NET My Services SDK are being previewed during the PDC by early adopters. These companies have reduced development and operational costs, and boosted customer relationships through more relevant, personalized and opt-in offerings. Among them are: Accenture, Centerpost Corp. (for United Airlines), Expedia, Groove Networks, Microsoft Great Plains Business Solutions, on board info, Onyx Software, Siemens AG, Starbucks, the State of West Virginia Division of Natural Resources, T-Mobil International Mobile Business Solutions, Vis.align and youknowbest.com.