RealTime IT News

.Net Train Building Steam

The .Net train just keeps building up a head of steam on its course to dominate the way businesses and consumers will run their applications in the future.

Web services are a next-generation platform, using XML, that allow companies to integrate systems through the Internet, tying together human resources programs for example running on Unix and finance apps running on a COBOL-based mainframe. Several programming frameworks have emerged as leading candidates in the business world, including Sun Microsystem's Java framework and Microsoft Corp's .Net framework. The goal, in the future, is for consumers to "rent" applications or sign up with a monthly subscription to the latest word processing or tax preparation software.

In either case, Microsoft wants its .Net platform to be the one behind every one of those applications. Two announcements Monday show the software giant's migration from the PC to the Internet are gaining traction with the development community and independent software vendors (ISVs).

ISV Advent Software, Inc., is betting its financial services reputation on .Net, announcing Monday several customers are now using its WealthLine service, based on .Net's beta-version MSN Money Professional.

The service was launched at DEMO 2002 in Phoenix Monday, an industry convention showcasing up-and-coming business products.

Brian Bailard, Advent vice president of wealth management, said .Net delivers on the promise of what makes companies successful in today's business environment.

"Advent and Microsoft understand that employing leading technology is an integral component of today's successful financial management," he said. "Because we want to present the most innovative solutions to our customers, we're committed to demonstrating how the proven technology from Microsoft and Advent's leading platform for investment professionals work together seamlessly to meet the needs of wealth management providers."

Money Professional it's the evolution of MSN's existing Money Web service, combining select Passport and .Net alerts with secure document publishing, portfolio reporting and financial content. Now, Advent customers can also get up-to-the-minute updates on their portfolios and collaborate with financial advisors in real time.

Officials at Macromedia, Inc. makers of popular Web development tools Flash and ColdFusion announced Monday their support of the .Net platform.

Now a future generation of programmers comfortable with Macromedia's suite of software applications can develop Web services with .Net's development framework.

Macromedia last month announced its support of Web services platform, the Java 2 Platform, Enterprise Edition (J2EE), which runs in direct competition with .Net.

Marie Huwe, .Net developer general manager, said Macromedia's compatibility is good news for developers.

"It's great to see the innovation that Macromedia brought to web development being brought to Microsoft .NET,'' she said. "We believe that coupling the next generation of Dreamweaver UltraDev with .NET will benefit both companies' customers tremendously."

Developers will see future upgrades to Dreamweaver UltraDev supporting both the Visual Studio .Net and Liberty Alliance (the Java framework coalition), though whether it will come in one application or have two completely separate packages remains to be seen.

Both it's Flash player and ColdFusion will fully support .Net's framework, given Flash's current extensive use of XML tools in its application. ColdFusion's .Net upgrade, codenamed "Neo," has an unreleased launch time.

Kevin Lynch, Macromedia chief software architect, said the company is committed to bringing development tools that support .Net across the board.

"Macromedia is committed to building products that enable our users to harness the power of the .NET Framework and XML web services,'' he said. "The .NET Framework and web services are going to be a great environment for Macromedia customers to use our tools, servers, and players to deliver more powerful experiences across their platform of choice."