No more .NET

Fri, August 12, 2005, 01:27 AM under dotNET
Alternative title "What's in a name?"

This should be old news, but "repetition is the mother of all learning" [Greek proverb translated to English]

The ".NET" moniker is being phased out of new Microsoft products. We recall the craziness when .net was first launched: everything got a .NET after its name! Then it moved only to products that were relevant, and now it is being dropped.

The best example of this is Visual Studio. In February 2002 it was launched as "Visual Studio .NET 2002" (targeting .NET Framework v1.0). Visual Studio 6 developers, and specifically VB developers, needed to distinguish between VB6 and the new VB so it was aptly named VB.NET. In April 2003, the next version came along: Visual Studio .NET 2003 (targeting .NET Framework v1.1 & .NET Compact Framework v1.0).

There are real version numbers to go with the above (VS 7.0, VS7.1 and VB7), but everybody uses the .NET moniker (and/or the year) to refer to the products.

With Visual Studio 2005 (expected in November this year), the story changed. No more .NET after the Visual Studio name. No more .NET after Visual Basic - it is now simply VB2005 or just VB.

Another example is Windows CE. After Windows CE 3.x, came Windows CE.NET. That is WinCE versions 4.0, 4.1 and 4.2. The story here gets funnier as v4.0 does not support the .net compact framework so naming it CE.NET was a mistake (for the record, 4.1 and 4.2 do support netcf). So, last summer when Windows CE 5.0 was launched, it came as no surprise that WindowsCE had dropped the dotnet moniker as well.

If we look into the future where OS components are built with dot net code, we see that the trend of not including dotnet in the name continues, e.g: Windows Vista (Longhorn), Windows Communication Foundation (Indigo) and Windows Presentation Foundation (Avalon).

So where does all of this lead? It leaves us (the ones working on the Microsoft platform who have seen the true light) with an understanding of which product is officially named what. It leaves them (the ones who do not choose the Microsoft platform for political reasons alone, with no technical arguments) with ammunition to be able to say "We told you .NET wasn't going to last; where is it now in the latest Microsoft platform?"

So let's start changing our lexilogion and every time we are inclined to say ".NET" use the word "managed" instead. After all, that is what it is all about: Developing our apps with tools/languages that allow them to run in a managed environment.

Before anyone jumps in and says that Java also provides a managed environment, that helps my point. Make sure you realise "managed" is the way forward, and then make your choice... based on technical facts. I've made mine.