Back to Basics in .NET
Sometimes progress seems to move more quickly than time. Sometimes time seems to fly in the face of progress. What are we talking about? Has the summer heat finally made us lose our minds? Don't be silly! Just because this has been the hottest summer in New York City since 2001 doesn't mean we're not thinking straight.
We're actually contemplating the growth of the Microsoft .NET Framework since it was first introduced. It seems like just yesterday that we first learned about .NET and C#, back at the July 2000 PDC. In one sense, it was. When you think back and realize that the presidential campaign was in full swing by then, it doesn't seem like that much time has passed.
Then you look at the coverage we've provided in this time. We've not only run more than 100 articles focused on .NET, we're in our third year of coverage. That's a lot of published information, and we're just one of several sources you can use. (Although we're the best one out there, as voted by our staff.)
Even though there's a wealth of information on .NET available to users now, there are many people who are just now looking at the technology in order to evaluate it. Talk to different people and you get many different answers as to why this is so. Some companies have been slow to look at new technology because the economy is tight. Other companies simply won't consider a product until it's been formally released. (Still others don't want to touch a 1.0 release of any product!)
Whatever the reason, we've been told many times that people who are just getting started with .NET and Visual Studio .NET are looking for somewhere to turn for introductory material on this technology. At the same time, some readers who have been immersed in .NET for two years now are looking for a bit of a refresher, perhaps touching on concepts they haven't yet explored. This month, we've put together a special issue that can be used as either an introduction to .NET or a .NET refresher.
We're starting off with the Visual Studio .NET IDE. Even if you've used a programming environment for years, there are still little surprises that you might not know about. We're taking a look at the top cool new features that the latest version of Visual Studio brings to developers.
You probably understand that objects in the .NET Framework are based on System.Object, but do you know about all the most important base classes and types that the framework employs? Through reflection, and some creative data analysis, you can generate lots of interesting information about the CLR classes on which others rely, and we'll show you how.
There are many other avenues to .NET enlightenment that you'll be able to explore this month. We've gotten more requests for Remoting articles than we can shake a stick at. We don't know exactly what shaking a stick would accomplish, but nevertheless we're diving into the topic headfirst.
Even when the functionality you need isn't directly encapsulated in the framework, you're not out of luck. One such example, which we might have kvetched about in the past, is the lack of serial communications support in .NET. At long last, we're presenting a full-featured serial comm class that plugs right into the framework through the magic of P/Invoke. If there's something you want in .NET but can't find, write it yourself! And we promise we won't complain that there's no System.IO.Serial class anymore.
Before we sign off, we'd like to briefly revisit a topic we discussed a couple of months ago in this space: P2P. We have to admit it, we poked fun at parallel processing and P2P, suggesting some absurd uses of the technology. Imagine our surprise when we started to get angry letters from readers who claimed that we had set the technology industry back a decade. Who knew we were various unprintable things? And worse!
We had no idea that P2P had become such a hot-button issue for many readers. So just to set the record straight, we don't have anything against P2P software. We were discussing spyware (products that ride along when you install a different package) and extrapolated from there. We've heard that people used the Editor's Note as a primary source in their decision to ban all P2P software from their site! That's an overreaction; you don't have to ban P2P from your company. Like any software, this decision should be made on a case-by-case basis. Whatever your decision may be, the most important element of your corporate security is, of course, comprehensive, ongoing security reviews of all your systems. You can run into problems with any class of software you choose, so don't single out one type. Review, review, and review some more, and follow security best practices for your own good.
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