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Archive: March 20, 2003

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Thursday,  03/20/03  01:20 AM

Aha!  Robert Scoble has stepped boldly into the breach, and explains .NET

According to Robert .NET is three different things:

  1. .NET is a programming platform.  As Robert describes it, .NET is a different way to create OCXs, that is, the newest incarnation of COM.  (It took me a long time to get COM, too.)  There are two parts, a framework (APIs?) and a runtime (the infamous 20MB .NET CLR).  Okay, I get this.
  2. .NET is a set of protocols.  Basically SOAP.  Okay, I know SOAP, it is like XML-RPC.  I find XML-RPC to be cleaner than SOAP <sorry;>, but I get this.
  3. .NET is marketing.  This is the part which probably threw me, and others also.  I'm fine with marketing, but labelling stuff with a "brand" which doesn't have an anchor is silly.  Not to mention it dilutes the brand, and it confuses people :)

This actually helps, thanks, Robert.  Microsoft should copy your post to the top of their What is .NET page.  And the GotDotNet guys should, too.  I still think .NET is a crummy name, OLE was better ;)

I'm going to mull this over; I'm not ready to say "I get .NET" - yet.


Starting to Get .NET

Thursday,  03/20/03  08:42 PM

I've had a number of interesting responses to my I Don't Get .NET post.  (Along with Scoble, I'd single out the thoughtful input from Mike Amundsen.)  What is striking is that every email contains a bulleted list.  So one part of my confusion is explained - .NET is not one thing, it is several things.  That is a strange branding decision by Microsoft, but so was picking .NET as the name.  I guess time will tell whether they can overcome poor marketing with good technology.

Everyone agrees that .NET is at least two things:

  • A development environment.  Programming tools (VS.NET), a set of APIs (the .NET framework), and a runtime library (the .NET CLR).  I'm going to lump support for XML and SOAP in here as well; they are data and message formats supported in the environment.
  • A marketing concept.  Apparently Microsoft wants to position .NET as a follow on concept to "Windows", although .NET is not an operating system.  Windows is a platform for running software, and the idea seems to be that .NET is a platform for running software also.  Interesting.

There may be other things also under the .NET umbrella.  The brand seems a little slippery, I think out of the blocks just about everything which came from Redmond was suddenly part of .NET, and lately they’ve been crisper.  Like Windows 2003 server is now NOT being called .NET anymore.

As the fog clears, there is actually less to this than I thought.  Perhaps that's what Microsoft wants...

So here's the net net on .NET:

.NET is a development environment positioned as a follow on platform to Windows.

Thanks everyone, I may not have it exactly, but I'm starting to get .NET.


Thursday,  03/20/03  09:15 PM

Today was the first day of Spring.  I celebrated with a bike ride.  It was a nice break from worrying about the world.

I watched the war on TV for a while today.  Most of the talk was about the technology used for reporting, like how amazing is it that we can send live TV from the Iraqi desert back to the U.S.  This did not impress me.  I was struck by how little actual reporting was taking place.

You want reporting, check this out.  BBC has a "reporters log" where all their correspondents post snippets of news as they're happening.  Should call it a reporters blog.  (Strangely, this page's URL changes with each post.  So you have to go to this page, hit refresh, then click on the "war diaries" link.  Sigh.)  This is much better reporting than you'd get from, say, the N.Y.Times website.  What's really interesting is that "the media" are adopting the blogging style.  Inside Ventura County has a great war blog (I live in Ventura County, BTW).  I think Dave's bet is looking good.  So does Reuters (looking way better than AP in this war, IMHO.)  So does the L.A.Times, amazingly...  (Remember, LAT links turn into fairy dust after 7 days.)

Just stumbled across John Lemon's Barrel of Fish.  Good stuff.  Sample: "Chirac shouldn't have any trouble saving face, since he has two of them".

Another good blog is the Strategy Page.  Sample: "The top three nations to whom Iraq owes money: Russia ($25B), France ($5B), and China ($5B)."  { Gee, I've read about those three nations somewhere before...  Note those are Bs, not Ms. }

I had missed this, but just found it; Tim Bray writes XML is Too Hard for Programmers.  Yep, it is.  And you know what that means, don't you?  (Hint: W=UH)

So, are you ready for some cricket?  I didn't think so.  But it is actually a fascinating sport, with its own language, and if you didn't know India is meeting Australia in the World Cup finals this Sunday.  I don't think it is Tivo-able, if anyone knows of a way to watch this in Southern California, please let me know.


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