What’s In a Name?

Guest Editorial


What's In a Name?


By Mark Anders


It was just about four years ago that a few of us at Microsoft started working on what we believed would be a better way to develop Web applications. After developing an initial prototype during New Year's weekend in 1998, my colleague Scott Guthrie and I started meeting with different groups at Microsoft to show what we were calling "XSP." Of course, the first question was always, "And XSP is an acronym for what?" Well, in all honesty, we had to admit embarrassingly that it didn't really stand for anything. It was just a name so we could differentiate it from ASP. Despite our lack of name creativity, however, all of the groups with whom we met were incredibly excited about the software we were creating and said they would love to use it to build their applications.


In May 1998, I received an e-mail that said that Bill Gates wanted to meet with me to get "briefed on XSP." It turned out that in the course of various product reviews, a number of people were telling him their groups were going to be using XSP in the future! After hearing that a few times, Bill wanted to know what it was all about. Of course, I'm sure you can guess what his first question was.


So, what's happened in the years since? In some ways, a lot has happened. But, in other ways, not much. First of all, we got a new name (in fact, two new names). When we shipped our preview version at the Microsoft Professional Developer's Conference in July 2000, we had changed the name to ASP+. This was because the term ".NET" was coined too late for us to actually change the software and documentation and deliver "the bits" to the PDC attendees. For the Beta 1 release, in November of 2000, we had settled upon the name ASP.NET. Also during that time, we put together an incredible team that built a truly amazing product, and we saw the birth of an enthusiastic community that was fanatical about ASP.NET.


So what didn't change? Well, as you might have guessed, the ASP in ASP.NET doesn't actually stand for anything. You might have thought, and I've seen it written, that ASP.NET stands for Active Server Pages.NET, but it really doesn't. We dropped the word Active but retained the essence of ASP, while adding .NET, which really does stand for something exciting.


One name that also stands for something is asp.netPRO magazine. It's the magazine for professional ASP.NET developers. While other magazines might cover ASP.NET in addition to other technologies, only asp.netPRO covers nothing but ASP.NET. In every issue of asp.netPRO, you'll find informative and insightful articles to help you create the best ASP.NET applications. Each issue will contain feature articles, such as the one by Craig Utley on how .NET is put together, or the article by Dan Haught on designing Web Services. You'll also find regular columns on ADO.NET, the .NET Framework classes, C#, Data Binding, and Web Services. And, in each issue, you'll find a regular column called "Ask Microsoft," in which you can ask us any ASP.NET question on your mind. Just send your questions to [email protected]. Actually, there is one question I'd prefer you didn't ask. (And I'm sure you can guess what that is.)


Mark Anders is Microsoft Corp.'s product unit manager for the .NET Framework.




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