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June 18, 2002—In this issue:
- Easy-to-Use Visual Studio .NET Will Revolutionize Application Development
2. KEEPING UP WITH IIS
- Installing URLScan Automatically
- Results from Last Issue's Instant Poll: Implementing .NET Web Services
- This Issue's Instant Poll: Creating Prototype Solutions
- Windows Scripting Solutions for the Systems Administrator
- Get Valuable Info for Free with IT Consultant Newsletter
- Event Highlight: WebSec 2002
- Featured Thread: Problems Viewing a Web Page
5. NEW AND IMPROVED
- Monitor, Alert, and Trend Your Internet Services
- Submit Top Product Ideas
6. CONTACT US
- See this section for a list of ways to contact us.
I've received many reader email messages containing interesting questions about the best way to begin using Visual Studio .NET, the tool for building Microsoft .NET applications. I'll answer those questions and speculate on a few more .NET-related subjects in the balance of this article.
Microsoft has made Visual Studio .NET so easy to use that technologists outside the realm of software development are beginning to use the tool to build prototypes and pilot projects. Network and infrastructure folks are using Visual Studio .NET to build prototypes that help in the design and research process of larger software projects. Program managers, product managers, and project managers are using the tool to build prototype and pilot applications in the enterprise, too. I've heard many stories of nondeveloper technical people actually building prototype and pilot applications that they "throw over the wall" to developers; Visual Studio .NET has let users become involved in projects by building prototype and pilot solutions. I believe that Visual Studio .NET is facilitating the beginning of a software revolution.
Mike Iem, a product manager on Microsoft's Visual Basic .NET team, confirmed that software is taking a leap forward. "I remember back to the mainframe days when smart end users or knowledge workers \[e.g., MBAs, engineers\] in corporations wanted better access to data," Iem said. "Specifically, they wanted to turn data into information using decision-support tools that were coming out. But that's pretty difficult when all your data is locked up in a mainframe. So, being the smart and resourceful people they were, they installed tools like dBase, Visual Basic, and Graphic Query Language on their PCs and used \[tools such as\] Data Access Language and ODBC to get at the databases in those glass houses.
"One day, the CIO wakes up and finds that the mainframe data is old and users have created new applications on PCs linked via LANs. And the glass-house mainframe developers and IT guys are scratching their heads wondering what happened. I think technologies like XML Web Services and no-touch deployment are shaking up the corporations again, and users are pushing IT to grow and take advantage of the new technology that solves today's problems better."
Building prototypes of software applications is the easy part of the software-development process. Defining requirements, researching, and designing the applications make up the hard part. Prototypes of the application help the customer actually think through the functional design of the application. Often, a prototype serves as the main component of a functional specification. In recent years, developers used tools such as Microsoft FrontPage to build Web application prototypes, but FrontPage isn't a good tool for dynamic Web sites that communicate with databases. But using Visual Studio .NET, anyone can build functional Web application prototypes. And as nondevelopers become familiar with the Visual Studio .NET tool, they'll build and deploy applications in production.
So why does a programming tool such as Visual Studio .NET make a software developer's life so much easier? Because of the controls available in the toolbox and because of automatic code generation. Web developers can use Visual Studio .NET to do most of their work because the tool automatically generates a significant part of the code when you're building a Web application.
Some readers have asked me for recommendations about the best resources for learning about Visual Studio .NET. Would you believe more than 300 books about Microsoft .NET have been published and only 1 is dedicated entirely to Visual Studio .NET? That book is "Effective Visual Studio .NET" (Wrox Press, 2002) by David DeLoveh, et al.
My favorite book is "ASP.NET Developer's JumpStart" (Addison Wesley, 2002) by Paul D. Sheriff and Ken Getz. This book teaches you how to use ASP.NET, Visual Basic .NET, and Visual Studio .NET to build real-world business applications on the Web. Another excellent book is "Developing Web Applications with Visual Basic .NET and ASP.NET" (John Wiley & Sons, 2002) by John Alexander and Billy Hollis. However, both of these books cover building Web applications, not Windows applications, with Visual Studio .NET. Carlos Guevara, a leader in the software development industry, thinks "SAMS Teach Yourself Visual Basic .NET in 24 Hours" (SAMS, 2002) by James D. Foxall is the best book for the absolute beginner that wants an easy place to start.
I believe that Visual Studio .NET has started a software revolution that will lead to the creation of project teams of diverse backgrounds that will design, develop, and deploy powerful software applications faster and more efficiently than anyone ever dreamed possible. And I believe that in a few years, building enterprise-class software applications on the Microsoft platform will no longer be difficult.
Tim Huckaby, News Editor, [email protected]
For more information about Visual Studio .NET, visit
To get a trial copy of Visual Studio .NET, visit
To download the Microsoft .NET Framework, which you'll need to begin using Visual Studio .NET, visit
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2. KEEPING UP WITH IIS
To install URLScan automatically, use the IIS Lockdown Wizard, which is included in the IIS Lockdown tool. The wizard asks which type of Web server you're running and which IIS-related products (e.g., Microsoft FrontPage Server Extensions, Microsoft Commerce Server) are installed. The wizard then attempts to lock down your server without breaking any functionality that your installed tools and products require.
The voting has closed in the Windows & .NET Magazine Windows Web Solutions channel's nonscientific Instant Poll for the question, "When does your enterprise plan to implement .NET Web services?" Here are the results (+/-1 percent) from the 51 responses.
- 16% We already use .NET Web services.
- 20% Within six months.
- 6% Within one year.
- 27% We plan to, but we're not sure when.
- 31% We don't plan to use .NET Web services.
The next Instant Poll question is, "Do nondevelopers in your organization use Visual Studio .NET to create prototype solutions?" Go to the Windows & .NET Magazine Windows Web Solutions home page and submit your vote for 1) Yes, 2) Not yet, but we're exploring the possibility, or 3) No.
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So, you're not a programmer, but that doesn't mean you can't learn to create and deploy timesaving, problem-solving scripts. Discover Windows Scripting Solutions online, the Web site that can help you tackle common problems and automate everyday tasks with simple tools, tricks, and scripts. While you're there, check out this article ( http://www.winscriptingsolutions.com/articles/index.cfm?articleid=20376 ) about WMI scripting for beginners!
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August 19 through 21, 2002
WebSec 2002 delivers real-world solutions to significant e-security challenges such as securing Web browsers, Internet connections, and wireless devices, and protecting your systems from war dialing, malicious code, and cracker attacks.
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Roy is using Windows XP with IIS 5.1 installed, and when he tries to view a Web page in the \wwwroot folder, he gets the following message: "Error: 500 server error Bad URL." The same error message appears when he tries to access http://localhost/localstart.asp. To see responses about this scenario or to lend a helping hand, visit the following URL:
5. NEW AND IMPROVED
(contributed by Carolyn Mader, [email protected])
Sharpeware released NetWatch 2.5, software that keeps you informed about your network infrastructure. The software monitors your Internet services and can log important data, plot trends, and generate alerts when problems arise. The software runs on Windows NT and costs $49. Contact Sharpeware at [email protected]
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