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October 31, 2002—In this issue:
- .NET Comes in Through the Out Door
2. .NET NEWS AND VIEWS
- .NET CLR, C# Set To Be Standardized
3. DOT-TECH PERSPECTIVES
- Introducing UDDI 3.0: Registry Management
- Attend Our Free Tips & Tricks Web Summit
- Get Connected with Connected Home
- Event Highlight: COMDEX Fall 2002
6. NEW AND IMPROVED
- Develop Applications for BlackBerry Wireless Handheld Devices
- Submit Top Product Ideas
7. CONTACT US
See this section for a list of ways to contact us.
(contributed by Paul Thurrott, news editor, email@example.com)
When Microsoft announced its grand scheme for .NET 2 years ago, the company promised an interconnected future that would benefit developers, businesses, and consumers. But as I've often noted in .NET UPDATE, Microsoft's promises haven't produced anything concrete in those 2 years. Indeed, many of the grandest high-profile .NET plans—such as the aborted .NET My Services (formerly code-named HailStorm) project—have been unmitigated disasters.
During the past few months, however, Microsoft has seen the turnaround it's needed to keep interest and momentum in .NET going. Interestingly, this turnaround has affected each of the company's core markets. Here's how.
Visual Studio .NET shipped in February 2001, giving developers the tools they need to create .NET-based applications, Web applications, and servers. Development shops have been working with Visual Studio .NET, and the results are just now beginning to hit the market. The first such applications and services, of course, will arrive from companies that still operate on Internet time or require data interoperability between disparate systems over the Web.
"We're using .NET to write the new inventory automation and management systems for our data center and a complete rewrite of an e-commerce solution we offer our customers," reports Brian Laird, senior application developer at DataPipe, a New York-area company that offers managed Web and application-hosting services. "It's a truly object- oriented environment with excellent code reuse and a full-featured class library that offers services like garbage collection and memory management. We're using C# exclusively on all of our current projects, running under the .NET Framework. Our code needs to evolve as quickly as the technology changes, and .NET lets us roll out code more quickly and then update it again in the future without requiring major rewrites."
Developer acceptance of .NET technologies will probably be further aided by news that various standards organizations such as the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and ECMA are ratifying C# and the .NET Common Language Runtime (CLR) as international standards. Furthermore, .NET is already Microsoft's most interoperable set of technologies, with support for XML and Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP).
Left behind after the HailStorm fiasco of 2002, Microsoft's enterprise customers will have a lot of .NET technology to chew on in the coming months. First up is the newest Office version. Office 11 will offer extensive XML support and a new XML-based front end code-named XDocs, which I discussed in the October 17 issue of .NET UPDATE. XDocs could be Office 11's killer application because it can seamlessly tie together any number of back-end data stores with a familiar-looking Office-like front-end application. Historically, ease-of-use such as XDocs will deliver has been among Microsoft's strong suits.
On the server end, many .NET Enterprise servers that will introduce compelling new features are coming down the pike. An as-yet-unnamed Real-Time Communications (RTC) server, for example, uses the Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) that first debuted in Windows Messenger (part of Windows XP) to add enterprise Instant Messaging (IM) capabilities to Windows .NET Server (Win.NET Server) 2003. And the new Microsoft Exchange Server version, code-named Titanium, will use .NET technologies to bridge the gulf between email and personal information manager (PIM) data stored on the server and new mobile devices such as wireless laptops, Pocket PCs, and smart phones.
From a qualitative standpoint, when it comes to .NET and Web services, consumers have been the big winners. XP ushered in the era of .NET Alerts, and the new MSN 8 Internet access service lets consumers take advantage of alerts in new ways. In addition to receiving alerts regarding news, stock quotes, travel conditions, and other information, MSN 8 customers can now send themselves alerts about pending appointments they've scheduled in MSN Calendar. You can even have alerts forwarded to your cell phone.
.NET has also enabled new peer-to-peer (P2P) file-sharing capabilities in applications such as Windows Messenger and MSN Messenger; anywhere, anytime email access with MSN Hotmail; and, in an interesting twist on the .NET Passport location features, a way to find rival game players online, then invite them into game tournaments. When I installed a trial copy of Microsoft Links 2002, a golf game, the installation added options to Windows Messenger to let me find and issue an invitation to other players. Nice.
I could list more examples of cool .NET technologies, but the point I'm making is that these technologies are finally being applied in the real world, and some of the applications of those technologies are pretty exciting. After a dry summer, when I often wondered whether .NET had any legs, it's nice to see Microsoft—and, increasingly, other companies—creating innovative .NET solutions.
2. .NET NEWS AND VIEWS
(contributed by Paul Thurrott, firstname.lastname@example.org)
A working group within the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) has reviewed Microsoft's C# programming language and .NET Common Language Runtime (CLR), which likely will be approved as open standards by January 2003. The ECMA had already declared C# and the CLR as standards in late 2001, and with ISO certification in the works, we'll start seeing third-party C# compilers and implementations of the .NET environment that run on Linux and other non-Microsoft platforms.
3. DOT-TECH PERSPECTIVES
(contributed by Christa Anderson, email@example.com)
Happy Halloween, and welcome to the final installment of changes to Universal Description, Discovery, and Integration (UDDI) 3.0. To finish our examination of the specification, let's look at three areas in which UDDI 3.0 is improving UDDI registry management: by changing custodianship and ownership of a registry, by supporting caching of credentials used for external validation, and by various changes to the registry replication schema.
Typically, a publisher who creates an entity in the UDDI registry is the owner of that entity and controls it. The node in which the publisher creates an entity is the custodian of that entity. Custodian nodes are responsible for a registry's integrity and thus regulate who's allowed to change entities in a registry. If multiple nodes house a registry, all the nodes can share one set of security policies; alternatively, each node might use its own security policies to control registration, authentication, and authorization. Which option a node uses depends on the registry's security policies. If all nodes share a common security policy, then each will see a publisher who authenticates with the same credentials as the same person, regardless of which node that publisher first registers with. If the nodes don't share a common security policy, then a publisher will need to register separately with each node that he or she wants to publish entities on and won't be seen as the same person by all the nodes, even though he or she is registering with the same registry. For a variety of reasons (e.g., business mergers wherein responsibility for the registry is consolidated, hardware problems that make a node unreliable), changing an entity's ownership, moving an element of a business entity to a different entity, or making a new node the custodian of a registry might be necessary. UDDI 3.0 includes APIs that you can use to transfer an entity's ownership or put the entity into a different node's custody. Typically, when you transfer an entity to a different node or change an entity's ownership, the change applies to all elements within that entity, but you can use save operations to move specific elements to different entities.
A node's security policies might require that the registry check the tModels for integrity before saving them. UDDI 3.0 lets third parties register value sets for the tModels and even cache these value sets if the node's required security policy allows such caching. (The node security policy can also specify the way in which a value set can be validated, including whether or not the registry should use Single Object Access Protocol—SOAP—to check the value set, as it would for any other Web service.) These value sets don't have to be stored with the registry but can reside in a separate location. To save time, UDDI 3.0 permits caching of value sets stored in separate locations, either by periodically pulling all valid values from that location, or by caching the values on the node as it successfully validates them.
Finally, UDDI 3.0 modifies some parts of the replication APIs and adds support for replicating digital-signature information. If you're interested in more details about these updates, you'll find them online athttp://www.uddi.org/pubs/uddi_v3_features.htm
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November 16 to 21, 2002
Las Vegas, Nevada
Take a walk through the Las Vegas Convention Center at COMDEX Fall 2002, and you'll interact with technology, hear from industry leaders, compare and contrast the newest products, and gain insight from peers who have experienced some of the challenges you're facing. The COMDEX active technology marketplace is organized by technology segments to make it easier for you to find exactly what you're looking for. Educational programs and special features let you customize your experience based on your role, whether you're an experienced IT professional, a senior executive, or a business decision maker. This year, the TechCentric Conference component helps you explore new tools and solutions, including .NET, Windows XP, and Web services.
For other upcoming events, check out the Windows & .NET Magazine Event Calendar.
6. NEW AND IMPROVED
(contributed by Carolyn Mader, firstname.lastname@example.org)
Flowfinity Wireless released Thinflow Application Gateway (TAG) 3.0, enterprise-application infrastructure for wireless devices, to complement its Thinflow client technology. TAG supports end-to-end integration of .NET enterprise applications with Research in Motion's (RIM's) BlackBerry wireless handheld devices. The TAG 3.0 software also enhances support for automated device detection and data delivery. For pricing, contact Flowfinity Wireless at 866-787-4927.
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