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(below COMMENTARY)


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May 21, 2002—In this issue:

1. COMMENTARY

  • .NET Lives Up to Its "Faster, More Powerful" Label

2. KEEPING UP WITH IIS

  • A Roundup of IIS 6.0's Features
  • Results from Last Issue's Instant Poll: Scripting and Group Policy
  • This Issue's Instant Poll: .NET and Web Development

3. ANNOUNCEMENTS

  • Cast Your Vote for Our Readers' Choice Awards!
  • Raising Windows 2000 Availability—Free Webinar

4. RESOURCES

  • Event Highlight: TechNet Chat: Trustworthy Computing—Microsoft's Security Products
  • Featured Thread: IIS Server Stops Automatically

5. NEW AND IMPROVED

  • Fix an IIS Security Vulnerability

6. CONTACT US

  • See this section for a list of ways to contact us.

1. COMMENTARY

  • .NET LIVES UP TO ITS "FASTER, MORE POWERFUL" LABEL

  • Microsoft claims that Web developers can build more powerful Web applications faster with ASP.NET than they can in traditional Active Server Pages (ASP). The company's claim that Microsoft .NET enables "faster, more powerful, and more scalable Web applications in half the time" doesn't seem logical because new technology always comes with the high price of a learning curve. And in ASP.NET's case, Web developers face not only the technology's steep learning curve, but the need to learn two (and potentially more) new programming languages—Visual Basic .NET and C#.

    But Web application developers who use ASP.NET can build more powerful applications dramatically faster than in traditional ASP. One reason why is the power of more than 6500 .NET framework classes, which constitute the .NET Framework built on the Common Language Runtime (CLR). You can compare .NET framework classes with the Win32 API available to traditional C++ Windows programmers. The Win32 API gives software developers access to the "plumbing" of the OS and surrounding systems without requiring that they write code. Using the Win32 API is not for the faint of heart; in most cases, Win32 API's complexity requires an expert-level software developer. Having more than 6500 .NET framework classes at your disposal in .NET gives you superior Win32-type power but with a simplicity that beginning or average-level Visual Basic .NET developers can handle easily.

    Another reason why ASP.NET gives you an advantage over traditional ASP is the Visual Studio .NET tool, which is so far superior to its predecessor, Visual Studio (VS) 6.0, that comparisons can't be made. Visual Studio .NET has a learning curve, and I admit that I haven't come close to mastering it. Every day I learn something in Visual Studio .NET that simply amazes me. One of Visual Studio .NET's biggest advantages is automatic code generation. By letting Visual Studio .NET automatically generate a significant part of the code during application development, savvy Web developers can let Visual Studio .NET do most of their work. Automatic code generation is a great benefit, but relying on it too much can be dangerous.

    Last February, when I went onstage with Microsoft Chairman and Chief Software Architect Bill Gates and Chris Flores from the Visual Studio .NET team at the Visual Studio .NET launch event in San Francisco, I had 1 hour to use Visual Studio .NET to build a fully functional Web application. People are still amazed at how much I accomplished in an hour. But I let the tool do all the work. I wrote only 50 lines of code on the server side and 20 lines of code on the client side. Visual Studio .NET did the rest by generating thousands of lines of code. I built a fully functional and very powerful data-driven Web application that had Microsoft SQL Server 2000 add/edit/lookup capabilities through a Web service that displayed the relationships between a customer table, a products table, an orders table, and the line-item-details table of each order in three data grids on a Web form. I also used the Microsoft Mobile Internet Toolkit (MMIT) to build identical functionality in a mobile form for display on wireless Internet devices, such as cell phones and Research In Motion (RIM) devices. You can view the launch event and see what I built by clicking Bill Gates' Keynote at the following URL:
    http://msdn.microsoft.com/net/vslaunch

    During a session titled "Building Cool Active Directory Applications with VB.NET" at the recent Visual Basic .NET Connections conference in New Orleans, I built a fully functional tool to manage the data in Active Directory (AD) that has superior features and is much faster than the Microsoft Management Console (MMC) Active Directory Users and Computers snap-in that ships with Windows 2000 Server. Although I built the tool onstage in 1 hour, again, I wrote very few lines of code. I let Visual Studio .NET do most of the work.

    What's the catch? Well, if you let Visual Studio .NET automatically generate much of your code, you'll lose control of your application's architecture. Such loss of control isn't a problem in prototype and pilot applications; Visual Studio .NET's code-generation features are unparalleled for such use because they help you build applications quickly. However, every enterprise-class Web application needs a componentized data-access architecture for a common, consistent, and powerful set of architectural tools that software developers use to access data. In my launch-event application, I used a strongly typed data set that Visual Studio .NET automatically generated. If I were to turn my 1-hour application into an enterprise-class application, I might decide that the strategy Visual Studio .NET employed wasn't the best strategy for my needs. In that case, I would need to pick another data-access strategy, build a set of components to centralize the access, rip out the data-access architecture that Visual Studio .NET automatically generated for me, and swap in the new architecture.

    I hope this information makes clear why you can more easily build powerful ASP.NET Web applications faster than you can in traditional ASP. But remember that Visual Studio .NET doesn't replace a seasoned software architect. You still need experienced software developers to build enterprise-class applications from the bottom up. Still, between the platform and the toolset, .NET is giving the industry power that software developers never dreamed of when they began building traditional ASP applications.

    Tim Huckaby, News Editor, timh@interknowlogy.com


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    2. KEEPING UP WITH IIS

  • A ROUNDUP OF IIS 6.0'S FEATURES

  • In Internet Information Services 6.0 (IIS 6.0), Microsoft has revised the IIS architecture in the Windows Server family to address the needs of enterprise customers, ISPs, Independent Software Vendors (ISVs), and organizations of various sizes. The Microsoft article "What's New in Internet Information Services 6.0" provides an overview of changes to IIS in Windows .NET Server (Win.NET Server).
    http://www.microsoft.com/windows.netserver/evaluation/overview/technologies/iis.asp

  • RESULTS FROM LAST ISSUE'S INSTANT POLL: SCRIPTING AND GROUP POLICY

  • The voting has closed in the Windows & .NET Magazine Windows Web Solutions channel's nonscientific Instant Poll for the question, "How often do you use administrative scripting with Windows 2000 Group Policy?" Here are the results (+/-1 percent) from the 28 responses.
    • 0% Extensively
    • 11% From time to time
    • 14% Seldom
    • 75% Never

  • THIS ISSUE'S INSTANT POLL: .NET AND WEB DEVELOPMENT

  • The next Instant Poll question is, "Have you found that .NET lets you create 'faster, more powerful, and more scalable Web applications in half the time'?" Go to the Windows & .NET Magazine Windows Web Solutions home page and submit your vote for 1) Yes, 2) No, or 3) I haven't used .NET for Web development.
    http://www.windowswebsolutions.com

    3. ANNOUNCEMENTS
    (brought to you by Windows & .NET Magazine and its partners)

  • CAST YOUR VOTE FOR OUR READERS' CHOICE AWARDS!

  • Which companies and products do you think are the best on the market? Nominate your favorites in four different categories for our annual Windows & .NET Magazine Readers' Choice Awards. You could win a T-shirt or a free Windows & .NET Magazine Super CD, just for submitting your ballot. Click here!
    http://www.winnetmag.com/readerschoice

  • RAISING WINDOWS 2000 AVAILABILITY—FREE WEBINAR

  • How can you reduce (or eliminate) data loss and downtime in the event of a site-wide disaster? Attend the latest free Webinar from Windows & .NET Magazine and get the answers, including what kind of fault-tolerant disk setup to use, what clustering is (and isn't) good at, and best practices for boosting SQL Server and Exchange 2000 Server availability. Register (for FREE) today!
    http://www.winnetmag.com/seminars/veritas

    4. RESOURCES

  • EVENT HIGHLIGHT: TECHNET CHAT: TRUSTWORTHY COMPUTING—MICROSOFT'S SECURITY PRODUCTS

  • June 12, 2002
    http://microsoft.com/technet/treeview/default.asp?url=/technet/itcommunity/chats/default.asp

    Mike Nash, vice president for Microsoft's Security Business Unit, is scheduled to host an online chat about Microsoft's security products. He will discuss and answer questions about Microsoft Internet Security and Acceleration (ISA) Server, implementing security in Microsoft product development, and Microsoft's Trustworthy Computing initiative.

    For other upcoming events, check out the Windows & .NET Magazine Events Calendar.
    http://www.winnetmag.net/events

  • FEATURED THREAD: IIS SERVER STOPS AUTOMATICALLY

  • The user runs IIS Server on Windows NT with Option Pack 6.0. Every two days, his default Web site stops running, and he needs to manually restart the Web site or the system to bring the site back up. He wonders what's causing the problem and what he can do to solve it. To see responses about this scenario or to lend a helping hand, visit the following URL:
    http://www.windowswebsolutions.com/forums/thread.cfm?cfapp=74&thread_id=104573&mc=5

    5. NEW AND IMPROVED
    (contributed by Carolyn Mascarenas, products@winnetmag.com)

  • FIX AN IIS SECURITY VULNERABILITY

  • eEye Digital Security discovered a security vulnerability within the IIS Active Server Pages (ASP) Internet Server API (ISAPI) filter. An intruder can remotely exploit the ASP buffer overflow vulnerability to execute code. While enhancing the SecureIIS application firewall product, eEye discovered that the decoding and interpretation of form data exchanged through chunked encoding can force IIS to overwrite data and expose the server to intrusion. Microsoft and eEye worked closely to develop a patch. Visit eEye's Web site for more information and a technical description of the vulnerabilities.
    http://www.eeye.com

    6. CONTACT US
    Here's how to reach us with your comments and questions:

    • ABOUT THE COMMENTARY — timhuck@interknowlogy.com
    • ABOUT THE NEWSLETTER IN GENERAL — bkretsch@winnetmag.com

    (please mention the newsletter name in the subject line)

    • TECHNICAL QUESTIONS — http://www.winnetmag.net/forums
    • PRODUCT NEWS — products@winnetmag.com
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      Customer Support — wwsupdate@winnetmag.com
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