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AJ Ierulli

October 27, 2004

Web Programming


.Net

Microsoft developed the .Net framework and the purpose
of it is for a high level of software integration using web
applications. The web applications are small applications
that connect to not only each ot
her, but also to larger
applications also on the Internet. The history of .Net as
we know it begins around the year 2000. It was the next
generation of Visual Studio. There are various components
that are associated with the .Net framework. They are
“sm
art” clients, web services, servers, and developer tools
[2]. There are also disadvantages to using .Net, such as
code transparency. Examples of .Net code give us a look
and feel of previous Visual Studio releases.


History

Before we get into the meat of

what .Net is, first a
little history of .Net. It begins after the development of
Visual Studio 6, which was released in 1998. The
developers were beginning work on Visual Studio 7 [3]. It
was directed towards Web Page and Active Server Page

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development
. The name was changed to NGWS and then to
.Net. .Net was shown to developers in the year 2000, and
was developed by a team of Microsoft developers. Currently
.Net is at version 1.1. The first version was 1.0 and
released around January 2002 [7]. Over

the course of
development, some key advances include over 20 programming
language compliers are currently included in the .Net
framework and an increasing number of tools being developed
for use of the .Net framework [7]. Currently there are
over 350 too
ls available to be used in .Net development,
not to mention more than 250 add
-
ins for users to utilize
[7]. Currently there are more than 1 million developers
using .Net.


Overview of .Net

.Net lies between the Operating System and the
applications. Appl
ications designed for .Net are not only
run within .Net, but they are also controlled by .Net. The
.Net framework supports both Windows as well as web
applications. It was created for an object
-
oriented
environment [3]. The question that may arise is, “
Does it
work in other languages?” The answer is not all of them.
For example, a working version of .Net is not currently
available for Linux. As soon as .Net will run on Linux

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systems, applications created in .Net will be able to run
on Linux. The same

holds true for other Operating Systems.


So what is .Net framework and what does it do? .Net
was built as a next generation programming language. It is
the next evolutionary step up from Visual Studio 6. .Net is
made up of two components. They are comm
on language
runtime as well a “unified set of libraries”, .Net class
libraries. The common language runtime is in charge of
run
-
time services such as language integration and security
[7]. It supports over 20 different programming languages.
It is desig
ned to build and administrate various
applications. It also gives these applications the ability
to be robust and secure [7].



.Net Components

Common language runtime is the place where .Net
applications run. This is where various services provided
by .
Net are provided, such as memory management. An
advantage of running applications in common language
runtime is memory management is not an issue. It is taken
care of by the services provided [5]. Services like this
make running .Net applications easier

on the system.



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The second component of .Net is .Net class libraries.
The libraries are composed of only object
-
oriented
libraries. It is composed of over 5000 different classes.
The class libraries are common to all .Net languages. What
exactly does
that mean? That means when accessing a file
in C#, you would do it the same way in vb.net [5]. There
are also a slew of applications and languages that can use
.Net libraries, such as asp. This is a giant positive for
programmers. It gives them the fre
edom to move between
languages and us common class to do that.


How .Net Works

The progression of writing code in .Net languages is
to send it to its respective compiler. From there
everything is converted to Microsoft Intermediate Language,
no matter the

language written in. Possible languages are
.Net and C#. Then it is sent to Just
-
In
-
Time Compliers.
From there it is sent to the native code [5].


Since the purpose of .Net framework is a high level of
software integration using web applications. We

must first
explore what exactly is a web application. The web
applications communicate with each other by using XML. XML
is a universal data format. This enables data to be easily

5

formatted and/or adapted for use. There are many uses of
the XML and we
b applications. One such example is the
sharing of data between different applications through web
services [6]. These services are functions that are small
that execute only a few specific tasks.


Another advantage of the web applications is
compatibi
lity. Due to these applications using XML, they
can be used across all platforms and programming languages.
This is very powerful [6]. It means that these
applications can be accessed by anyone that can run web
applications. Being able to allow applica
tions to access
other applications with disregard to the language it was
programmed in is a nice feature that has been long awaited.


So what does it mean that .Net allows connection
across multiple platforms and programming languages from a
business stand
point? It means multiple businesses can
connect with each other while using different applications
regardless of the operating system. They do this through
the use of web applications [6]. This also increases
productivity. It does this by saving time a
nd cutting
costs.


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Advantages & Disadvantages of .Net

There are situations that .Net would not be the
necessary. An example of this would be a stand
-
alone
system [6]. If the system does not connect to anything,
then the utilization of web application func
tionality would
not be used. In an example by Microsoft, the developers of
.Net, they explain how powerful the XML component of .Net
is [6]. The example is of how the cost of having multiple
individual systems is extremely high, especially when the
same
information must be entered into multiple systems. If
for example you have an accounting system and link it to
your inventory. When you purchase or sell an item, the
transfer of cash and adding or subtracting from the
inventory will be taken care of in o
ne step. This is
opposed to taking multiple steps if each system was stand
-
alone costing the business more time [6]. As we know, time
is money in the business world and the more that can be
contributed to the bottom line the better.


Another positive asp
ect of .Net is that through the
use of web services, developers have the option to use
industry standard protocols [6]. Industry standard
protocols are a good thing to use because it makes the

7

developers develop their applications to some sort of
standard
. It makes it easier to troubleshoot and develop
the programs if they are built around using these standard
protocols. It can also cut down on time building the
applications. And as we said before, time is money.


Security is a great feature of .Net f
ramework. When
programming in .Net, the program cannot write to other
parts of the program it is not supposed to. It does this
through runtime validations. Having these validations in
.Net makes its environment very robust. An example
provided by a web

site says, “…it is never possible to
access an element of an array outside the boundary” [5].
That type of security makes for a very secure programming
language. Security is always top priority for businesses.
Any application that claims to increase se
curity and
actually does it is a good product for a business. It will
instill confidence in the product from the business and
help with its credibility. It also will allow the business
to advertise how secure their software is to their
customers.


Two ot
her possible, but not confirmed, advantages are
fewer bugs and better performance. Some of the bugs that

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will be eliminated will deal with clean up after the
program is executed. Others will deal with memory leak
[4]. As far as performance goes, a unive
rsal use of the
Common Language Runtime will cause heavy use of system
level code [4]. This, in theory, will speed up the
performance of the application. The only applications that
will not have increased performance will be those
applications that are r
unning at their optimum level.
These advantages will be proved with use. With any upgrade
or “next generation” program, there will be bug fixes.
Eliminating the mistakes of prior programs is essential to
effective upgrades. The goal is increasing funct
ionality
and decreasing defects from prior releases.


With all of these wonderful advantages to having the
.Net framework in place, there are drawbacks. One such
problem is language compatibility. Issues with the syntax
between .Net and other programming

languages have become an
increasing problem in the switch to .Net. A good example
of this is Visual Basic [3]. This has the potential to be
a major problem in programming. It is especially true in
programming packages such as Visual Studio, which is a
combination of languages all in one program.



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Another problem with .Net is the transparency of the
source code. This is due to the bytecodes in the
Intermediate Language is higher than the level used in the
programs that are currently being used. .Net di
sassembles
the Intermediate Language [4]. This allows the program to
understand things like data structures. These programs
that disassemble Intermediate Languages make code processed
and algorithms more transparent than current ones. There
is some anti
cipation that Microsoft will develop some type
of fix for this issue [4]. Thus, that will eliminate one
disadvantage. The less disadvantages associated with .Net,
the better it will look to developers and businesses.


Examples of Using .Net

This is an
example of .Net code being used. It is a
method that is using a service agent method that was
created earlier. Observe the programming style below.

public void CustomerDataCallback( IAsyncResult ar ){


// Retrieve the customer data.


_customerD
ata = _proxy.EndGetCustomerData( ar );


// Create an EventHandler delegate.


EventHandler updateUI = new EventHandler( UpdateUI );


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// Invoke the delegate on the UI thread.


this.Invoke( updateUI, new object[] { null, null } );

}

[1]

It

is similar to different programming styles that have
been used in the past, such as C++. The familiarity of
.Net is helpful in its marketability to programmers.


Conclusions

.Net is growing more and more popular in the
programming world. The .Net projec
t was renamed three
different times. It does not have a long history since
development began around 1998. As we have found out, .Net
is contained of two main parts, Common Runtime Language and
.Net class libraries. From a business aspect, .Net has a
lot

of potential. It has different components such as
“smart” clients, web services, and servers. It will save
not only time, but also money in its use. There are many
advantages to using .Net. Microsoft is really pushing for
its used. There has even bee
n a top 10 reasons to use .Net
for developers on Microsoft’s website. Those reasons are
improved reliability, increased performance, developer
productivity, powerful granular security, integration with

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existing systems, ease of deployment, mobility suppor
t,
native XML web service support, support more than 20
programming languages, and flexible data access [8]. These
are all advantages to .Net. Nothing comes without its
disadvantages though. The transparency of source code and
language incompatibility i
n conversion is some problems.


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Works Cited

1.“Creating a Simplified Asynchronous Cal Pattern for
Windows Forms Applications.” Microsoft Corporation. 1
Oct. 2004.
http://msdn.microsoft.com/library/default.asp?url=/lib
rary/en
-
us/dnwinforms/html/sacp_winforms.asp
.

2.“Defining the Basics of .Net.” Microsoft Corporation. 15
Sept. 2004.
http://www.microsoft.com/net/basics/whatis.asp
.

3.Gdalevich, Oleg. “The .NET Framework


an Overview.”
Vbip Books. 5 Oct. 2004.
http://www.vbip.com/books/1861004893/chapter_48
93_03.a
sp
.

4.Gdalevich, Oleg. “XML as the .NET “Meta
-
language”.” Vbip
Books. 5 Oct. 2004.
http://www.vbip.com/books/1861004893/chapter_4893_08.a
sp
.

5.Kalla, Niranjan Babu. “What is

the .NET Framework?.”
ASP Free. 1 May 2004. 10 Oct. 2004.
http://www.aspfree.com/c/a/.NET/What
-
is
-
the
-
NET
-
Framework/
.

6.“Microsoft .NET: What are Web Services?.” Microsoft
Corp
oration. 16 Sept. 2004.
http://www.microsoft.com/net/basics/webservices.asp
.


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7.“MSDN .NET Framework Developer Center: Technology
Overview.” Microsoft Corporation. 20 Sept. 2004.
http://msdn.microsoft.com/netframework/technologyinfo/
overview/
.

8.“MSDN .NET Framework Developer Center: Top 10 Reasons for
Developers to Use the .NET Framework 1.” Microsoft
Cor
poration. 22 Oct. 2004.
http://msdn.microsoft.com/netframework/technologyinfo/
topten/
.