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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.