Opinion: .Net -- from propaganda to product

Separating hype from reality is an essential skill in our marketing-mad culture and nowhere more so than in IT.

Microsoft's .Net offers a textbook example.

As a marketing concept, .Net was born in the dizzy, waning days of the tech stock bubble. But as sometimes happens when a company can afford very aggressive marketing, the message soon began to outrun the reality.

Wrapped around the .Net core of managed code and XML Web services were a number of high-concept initiatives. Software would be sold as a service. Microsoft would become the Internet's central clearinghouse for identity management. Users would consume and annotate information on an XML "universal canvas."

These initiatives were (and still are) largely vaporware. But the core was (and is) very real. C# and Visual Basic .Net support a modern, object-oriented programming style. The CLR (Common Language Runtime) delivers benefits similar to those of the Java virtual machine. The framework class library embodies many tried-and-true software patterns. And ASP .Net is a better way to build browser-based interfaces.

Ironically, Microsoft began to de-emphasize the .Net moniker just as the collective positive impact of these tools began to be felt.

David Treadwell, general manager of the .Net platform developer division, explains the company's reasoning in his interview with Udell. Reading between the lines, one can surmise that Bill Gates and company realized that in a battle for brand strength, the name "Windows" would always trump the oddly punctuated, improbably pronounced ".Net."

Hence, the Windows .Net Server became Windows Server 2003, and the company's marketing machine lumbered on toward the more user-friendly Longhorn name for future technologies.

After peeling away the hype, we gave fairly good marks to the .Net initiative. It made software development and deployment easier, and its handling of Web services in particular rated a solid "A".

Sure, .Net leaves plenty to be desired. Witness the slow and difficult transition to managed code and the failure to unify the richness of the GUI client with the reach of the browser -- issues Microsoft says the forthcoming "Whidbey" release of the run time, framework, and tools will partly resolve.

But on the whole, .Net managed to move the art of software development forward for those who use Windows, and that's a good outcome for an initiative that started life in a bubble.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Kevin McKean

Show Comments


James Cook University - Master of Data Science Online Course

Learn more >


Victorinox Werks Professional Executive 17 Laptop Case

Learn more >



Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles


PCW Evaluation Team

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?