The .NET initiative is one of the biggest technology shifts at Microsoft since they embraced the Internet in the latter half of the 1990s. Microsoft is using .NET to refocus the company on new technologies such as XML web services and the .NET Framework. The .NET Framework is a completely new way to program in the Windows environment. The Common Language Runtime (CLR) helps applications share code more efficiently and securely. In addition, the .NET Framework class library is a new set of APIs that make the older Win32 APIs look antiquated. The object-oriented approach and better organization of classes make for a much more simplified programming environment.
The impact of .NET on Active Directory is pretty minimal so far. The biggest impact has been with the introduction of the System.DirectoryServices API, which builds on top of ADSI and is straightforward to use. In its current release, VBScript cannot be used natively with the .NET Framework, but due to the simplicity of .NET, using Visual Basic.NET is not much of a leap for experienced VBScript programmers. In this chapter, we covered the two main classes of System.DirectoryServices, the DirectoryEntry class and the DirectorySearcher class. By having a good understanding of these two classes, you'll be well on your way to writing robust Active Directory applications with the .NET Framework.