1.1 Behind Microsoft .NET

While the main strategy of .NET is to enable software as a service, .NET is much more than that. In addition to embracing the Web, Microsoft .NET acknowledges and responds to the following trends within the software industry:

Distributed computing

Simplifies the development of robust client/server and multi-tier (n-tier) applications. Traditional distributed technologies require high vendor-affinity and are unable to interoperate with the Web. Microsoft .NET provides remoting and web services architectures that exploit open Internet standards, including the Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP), Extensible Markup Language (XML), and Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP) and WSOL.


Simplifies the integration of software components developed by different vendors and supports development of distributed applications. The Component Object Model (COM) has brought reality to software plug-and-play, but COM component development and deployment are too complex. Microsoft .NET provides a simpler way to build and deploy components.

Enterprise services

Allow the development of scalable enterprise applications without writing code to manage transactions, security, or pooling. Microsoft .NET continues to support COM and component services, since these services greatly reduce the development time and effort required to build large-scale applications.

Web paradigm shifts

Over the past decade, web application development has shifted from connectivity (TCP/IP), to presentation (HTML), to programmability (XML and SOAP). A key goal of Microsoft .NET is to enable the sharing of functionality across the Web among different platforms, devices, and programming languages.

Maturity of IT industry

Lessons that the software industry has learned from developing large-scale enterprise and web applications. A commercial web application must support interoperability, scalability, availability, security, and manageability. Microsoft .NET facilitates all these goals.

Although these are the sources of many ideas embodied by Microsoft .NET, what's most notable about the platform is its use of open Internet standards (HTTP, XML, and SOAP) at its core to transmit information from one machine to another across the Internet. In fact, .NET provides bidirectional mapping between XML and objects. For example, a class can be expressed as an XML Schema Definition (XSD); an object can be converted to and from an XML buffer; a method can be specified using an XML format called Web Services Description Language (WSDL); and a method call can be expressed using an XML format called SOAP.