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eWeek: Tech Analysis: .Net changes rules

Aug 31, 2000, 15:39 (16 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Peter Coffee)

"The Windows platform, despite its portfolio of services for application developers, shows a lack of attention to productivity and usability goals that are finally addressed by Microsoft Corp.'s forthcoming .Net initiative. The arrival of .Net continues a trend in the changing pressures that shape new generations of application development tools."

"Microsoft's .Net platform will buffer developers from error-prone tasks such as data type checking and memory management, automating these services (much like Sun Microsystems Inc.'s Java) in the .Net run-time environment invoked by any "managed code" module. Module interactions, including the inheritance and specialization that make object-oriented programming so potentially productive, will cross boundaries to and from any language implementation that supports the features of a common specification."

"Compilers that target .Net will incorporate so-called metadata in executable files, telling a program at runtime how to interact with other resources. This mechanism should make it easier for developers to partition code--for example, into large modules that rarely change and small modules that are downloaded on demand to update volatile logic, such as evolving business rules. ... Metadata in program files will resolve a chronic present-day problem installing an application, then finding that an updated shared file version won't work with older applications. With .Net, both versions remain available to applications that need one or the other."

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