Every few years a new technology comes along that turns our industry upside down. Some of these technologies thrive, some mutate into something else, and many are revealed to be half-baked marketing fluff. Almost in military fashion, the arrival of a new technology is invariably preceded by an artillery barrage of hype. Experienced programmers know to keep their heads down until the hype barrage subsides. After all, the proof will be in the technical pudding, so to speak.
Your reaction to Microsoft's .NET initiative will depend somewhat on your background. If you have previous experience with Java or Delphi, you might wonder what all the fuss is about. But, if you have been slogging it out in the trenches writing applications for Windows in C++ (or, heaven forbid, in C), you might be overwhelmed with joy.
The purpose of this chapter is to explain some of the technologies that make up the .NET initiative and to show how they fit into the world of Windows programming in general and Delphi programming in particular. We will begin by installing and configuring the Delphi for .NET Preview compiler. Then we will broadly cover some of the .NET technologies. Finally, we will discuss these technologies in greater detail, weaving in some Delphi code for illustration.
This chapter and the following one were by Marco with extensive help from John Bushakra, who works for Borland's RAD tools documentation department.