Windows Server 2003 comes out of the box with Microsoft's latest software development technologies. If you're reading this book, however, you probably consider yourself more of an administrator than a developer, so do you even need to worry about these technologies? The answer is an emphatic "Yes!" because Windows Server 2003, more than any previous version of Windows, is designed to host powerful, enterprise-class applications. You need to be familiar with these development technologies so that you can understand their impact on your servers, and so that you can install servers that provide the best possible support for your organization.
Windows Server 2003's most visible new development feature is the .NET Framework, which is an entirely new set of software development technologies. Software developers will use tools like Visual Basic .NET, C# (pronounced "C Sharp"), and Visual C++ .NET to create applications that use the .NET Framework.
One of the reasons software developers are so excited about the .NET Framework is that it makes creating Web services applications easier. Web services applications are designed to work in conjunction with Internet technologies, providing services over HTTP and other common Internet protocols. For example, a home insurance firm might offer a Web service that accepts home values, locations, and other information and provides insurance quotes. Real estate agents could incorporate this Web service into their own applications or Web sites, taking advantage of the capabilities offered by the Web service without having to write the complicated code themselves.
Of course, after companies start providing these Web services, they need a way to organize those services so that others?whether inside or outside the company?can locate and use the services. Windows Server 2003 provides a means for that organization of services in its included Universal Description, Discover, and Integration (UDDI) services. Other development enhancements that should catch your attention include Enterprise Services (the name for the latest version of Microsoft's venerable COM+ technology), Web farm technologies, and much more. We'll cover all these items in this chapter, focusing on them from a server administration point of view so you can better implement and use these new capabilities in your environment.