.NET remains point of contention

Microsoft's planned release of the Windows .NET Server 2003 operating system drew cheers and jeers at the Comdex trade show, where a panel of developers and technology experts faced off in a debate over Microsoft's emerging Web-based development platform.

Microsoft was the obvious missing link in the debate over the merits of its .NET development environment. The company was asked to take part but declined, said debate moderator Paul Gillin, vice president of TechTarget.com Inc. Instead, the two sides were made up of an executive from one of its biggest rivals, Sun Microsystems Inc., and three industry pundits.

One of the most prominent complaints raised during the debate took issue with the fact that Web-based applications built using .NET developer tools are currently only designed to run on Microsoft servers. The software maker has positioned Windows as the only server operating system suitable for hosting .NET applications.

That approach is one that backers of the competing Java development platform are most critical of, said Mark Herring, senior director of marketing with Sun Microsystems Inc.'s Java and Web services division, who argued against .NET.

For one, "with multiple vendors you can get the price down," Herring said, using as an example the Java camp, which is backed by multiple competing server software vendors, including IBM Corp. and BEA Systems Inc., as well as Sun.

No one on the panel disputed that one of Microsoft's main goals with Windows .NET Server 2003, due for general release in April 2003, was to lure more developers to its platform. However, .NET proponents here explained that .NET applications running on Windows servers now more than ever are designed to work with IT systems that are made up of various operating systems such as Unix and Linux.

".NET will only run on Windows, but it lets you use other platforms with it," said Don Jones, an analyst with BrainCore.NET LLC, who joined the panel as a Microsoft proponent. "The underlying standards (it supports) allow it to communicate with other Web services. So it doesn't matter if another Web service is running on Linux."

Tom Head, a self-employed developer and technology consultant in Los Angeles who watched the debate, agreed that Microsoft's efforts to upgrade all of its software around .NET makes Windows a much better citizen in mixed IT environments.

"What I've seen of .NET is that it's a very well thought out framework," he said in an interview after the debate. "It's the most open thing Microsoft has ever done. The problem is, everyone is left with the history of Microsoft, which is that it's not open."

The history he refers to was described by panel members as the "embrace and extend" strategy. Critics say Microsoft has historically latched on to industry standard technologies, then tweaked them so that they lose compatibility with non-Windows systems. Opponents of .NET warned that Microsoft might do the same thing to emerging Web services standards such as XML (Extensible Markup Language), SOAP (Simple Object Access Protocol) and UDDI (Universal Description, Discovery and Integration), considered the "Yellow Pages" of Web services.

The fact that Microsoft has engineered .NET Web services to run best on the Windows .NET Server 2003 does not mean that the company is trying to close off customers to competing server platforms, Jones said. Rather, it illustrates basic principles of business, he argued.

"They're a publicly traded company with stock holders to answer to," he said. "They want to dominate their field as any good old American company wants to do."

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Matt Berger

Computerworld
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Stocking Stuffer

SmartLens - Clip on Phone Camera Lens Set of 3

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Michael Hargreaves

Microsoft Office 365/Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Cathy Giles

Brother MFC-L8900CDW

The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?