.NET report card

Every couple of years Microsoft wraps a marketing label around all the major initiatives in the company. In 2000, the label was .NET; in 2003, Longhorn. As developers and IT managers ponder what the "Longhorn wave" might mean to them, InfoWorld decided to assess the current .NET wave. Its goals were many and ambitious. At the core of .NET, the Common Language Runtime (CLR) and its associated Framework (class library) would usher Microsoft developers into the world of managed code, whose benefits were already well-known to their Java counterparts. In parallel, Web services would become the pivotal integration technology, and XML the lingua franca of data representation. These were, and still are, the central themes. Don Box, architect of Longhorn's Indigo communication subsystem, put it plainly on his weblog: "We're betting that the future is managed code and XML." [Full story at InfoWorld.com]
This story, which began thirty weblog items ago, is (at least for me) a compelling demonstration of weblog/journalism synergy. I first tried this approach in 1996, for a BYTE cover story. In the pre-blog era, NNTP newsgroups were the venue, but it's the same principle. When you're dealing with an evergreen topic, and you're not worried about getting scooped by the competition, why not go ahead and outline your ideas in advance? The ensuing conversation will clarify them, and put you in touch with people who can share interest and expertise that you otherwise wouldn't have been able to find.

Back in '96 it was Dave Korsmeyer who popped up on the radar screen, to tell me about an interesting use of Java for distributed data visualization at NASA's Ames Research Center. I just heard from Dave recently. Now he's Chief of the Computational Sciences Division at the Ames Research Center, and his team has built several software tools to support the current Mars mission, including MERCIP, which Dave describes as "distributed web information application using XML as its messaging protocol."

In similar fashion, a number of folks popped up on the radar for this .NET story. I'd like to thank everyone who took the time to think about and discuss various issues. And I wonder what they'll be up to 8 years hence!

Former URL: http://weblog.infoworld.com/udell/2004/03/01.html#a930