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Note: Many topics at this site are reduced versions of the text in "The Encyclopedia of Networking and Telecommunications." Search results will not be as extensive as a search of the book's CD-ROM.

Microsoft.NET is a distributed object computing architecture platform that supports component software for enterprises and Web-based applications. In Microsoft's .NET vision, applications are constructed using multiple "Web Services" that work together to provide data and services for applications. A previous version of Microsoft.NET was called Microsoft DNA. The new platform and its evolution from the old architecture are illustrated at the Web site listed later.

All of the Windows .NET 2000 building blocks share a common component model in COM+, which builds on earlier COM services and preserves existing application environments. The family of solutions includes the following.

  • Windows 2000 server, which includes Web Services, transaction services, messaging, data access, clustering, and IP load-balancing services

  • Visual Studio.NET, a development environment

  • BizTalk Server 2000, an XML-based business-to-business commerce solution (supports XML-formatted business documents)

  • Commerce Server 2000, a business-to-consumer commerce server

  • Exchange Server, a messaging and groupware platform

  • SQL Server 2000, a database solution

  • Host Integration Server 2000, a server for integrating data on legacy hosts

  • Application Center 2000, a solution that supports high-availability server arrays (server farms)

  • Mobile Information 2001 Server, a server to support mobile users

The architecture for .NET is a multitiered client/server model. Clients access a middle-tier presentation and business logic server (typically, a Web server). The middle-tier server accesses the back-end databases and legacy systems, retrieves data based on user requests, and then forwards the data to the client as an HTML Web page.

A Web Service is programmable application logic that is accessible using standard Internet protocols. Web Services combine aspects of component-based development and the Web. Like components, Web Services represent black-box functionality that can be reused without worrying about how the service is implemented. Unlike current component technologies, Web Services is not accessed via object-model-specific protocols, such as DCOM, RMI, or IIOP. Instead, Web Services is accessed via HTTP and XML.

In addition, the Web Service interface is defined strictly in terms of the messages the Web Service accepts and generates. Consumers of Web Service can be implemented on any platform in any programming language, as long as they can create and consume the messages defined for the Web Service interface. Five requirements are necessary for service-based development, including standard data representation, common message format, a service description language, a service discovery protocol, and a service provider discovery protocol.

Data is represented with XML and delivered in SOAP (Simple Object Access Protocol) messages via HTTP. A language called WSDL (Web Services Description Language) is used to describe services. An XML-based protocol called Disco is used to discover services at a site, and a mechanism called UDDI (Universal Description, Discovery, and Integration) defines how to advertise services and how Web Service consumers can find services. Similar mechanisms are discussed under "Service Advertising and Discovery."

A platform similar to Microsoft.NET is Sun Microsystem's Java 2 Platform, Enterprise Edition (J2EE), which is discussed under the Java heading. Both .NET and J2EE support distributed object computing and component software technologies for enterprise and Internet environments.

Copyright (c) 2001 Tom Sheldon and Big Sur Multimedia.
All rights reserved under Pan American and International copyright conventions.