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  1. #1
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    Starting in .NET

    What, in your opinions, are the minimum steps required for a programmer to migrate to .NET.

    1) What are the major clones or hybrids of .NET? I see, I think, VS.NET and VB.NET. Are there other major "players"?

    2) Just as Word97/VBA offered a cheap introduction to VB(A), what vehicles are commonly available to wet-the-toes, so to speak.

    3) Supposing a Win98/SE machine WITHOUT office97; what are the minimal software packages required to begin essays in NET?


    In all of this, assume a programmer of some skill, not expert, but familiar with all the basic concepts of programming (structure of programs, functions, libraries of code etc).

    Such a programmer might be migrating from APL, and might want to leap straight into .NET without going the VB6/VBA route. Or they might be a WordPerfect or Lotus macro programmer.

    As an alternative, assume someone such as myself, familiar with VBA in the various Office applications, with a copy of Visual Studio and having some slight experience with VB6. That's a personal request, of course.


    The .NET forum seems to have little activity. I am wondering if this is because .NET isn't really part of the general Office stream.

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    Re: Starting in .NET

    Office is not relevant for .Net.

    .Net 2003 will support VS Tools for Office, but, AFAIK, that is relevant only for Office 2003.

    For VS .Net 2002, one should start with VS .Net Pro at least because VB .Net does not have the VB Upgrade wizard.
    For VS .Net 2003, it is my understanding that VB.NET will have an upgrade wizard.

    Check the system requiremenmts for VS .NET. It requires a lot of power/resources.
    I'm getting away with using it on a PII 400, likely because system has 384MB of memory, not sure what VS .NET 2003 will require.

    IMHO, I'm not too concerned about .Net and Office until .NET is integrated into Office.
    If one wishes to write macros for multiple, say, Word versions, VBA is still the only way to go.
    And, I expect, but don't know fer sure, whether MSFT will even provide a means for migrating WordBasic code into a .NET-ized Office, so importing into VBA might be required.

  3. #3
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    Re: Starting in .NET

    I find it pretty annoying that software companies think we'll be willing to learn new object models, runtimes, and languages every few years, that we'll pay for the privilege, and that we'll put up with security fixes breaking our code just when we've finished our project.

    Do you remember, after you mastered WordBasic for Word2/Word6, confronting VBA and the object model for Office 97? Your first experience with the Document Object Model(s)? Translating DAO code to ADO and ADOX?

    To me, .NET looks like a proportional challenge: adrift in a vast unfamiliar ocean, your faith kept alive by a few familiar pieces of flotsam and jetsam and what you can build on top of them. After two years, it'll be as productive as what you use now, after three, comfortable, after four, natural, and after five you'll be thinking in .NET. And then they'll change it again. <img src=/S/grin.gif border=0 alt=grin width=15 height=15>

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    Re: Starting in .NET

    Chris,

    1) AFAIK there are no clones or hybrids of .NET. Also, to clarify the difference between VS.NET and VB.NET, Visual Studio .NET is an integrated development environment, basically the .NET successor to Visual Studio 6.0. You don't need Visual Studio .NET to do .NET programming (could for instance use NotePad) but with the exception of some hard-core web developers, for most people it isn't practical nor efficient to do .NET development without VS.NET.

    VB.NET is one of the languages you can use to program in .NET (the other main one being C#). I think you can buy VB.NET as a separate package from VS.NET, but again for learning purposes this isn't going to do you much good.

    2) The .NET Framework, which you need to have installed in order to run any of the above, is available as a free download.
    If you troll around the MS site, you might still be able to locate a free version of the VS.NET 2003 beta.
    You also may be able to locate an 'educational' version of Visual Studio .NET relatively cheaply; this can be used for teaching/practice but can't be used to produce a distributable executable.
    There's also a lightweight environment for creating ASP.NET applications, called Web Matrix - this is available from MS as a free download.

    Other than these possibilities, there aren't any on-the-cheap ways to get working with .NET.

    3) You can get information on system requirements for running Visual Studio .NET here - you won't be able to run VS.NET on Win 98.

    VS.NET development is very accessible at least at an intro level; if you have experience with VS 6.0/VB, it's not hard at all (different story though once you need to start digging in and doing non-trivial things with it - the object model is huge). "Beginning VB.NET 2nd Edition", published by Wrox, is a very accessible intro book.

    IMO the most compelling thing that .NET introduces is ASP.NET; this is a quantum leap forward in web app development as compared with ASP. Haven't visited them, but I hear there are many active communities devoted to ASP.NET. The Lounge has never been very focused on web development, so we probably aren't seeing much of the ASP.NET action here yet.

    Two other things that I think have slowed the adoption of .NET: 1) the tech crunch, which has drastically cut into IT budgets and spending on new technology; 2) the fact that Office isn't natively programmable using .NET and won't be at least until the version after Office 2003.

    Based on what I've seen so far, .NET really is most of what it's cracked up to be. Jeff makes a good point about difficulty of adoption; most likely though it will be more like 10 years before MS comes out with the next big thing that replaces .NET.

    Gary

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    Re: Starting in .NET

    The idea is to learn concepts, then the details matter only for the onerous task of converting code.

    What troubles me the most, with (lack of) respect to Office macros is that MSFT has NEVER had what I would consider a TRUE USER macro language for Office.

    WordBasic was actually a lot closer to being a macro language as the commands mostly mapped directly, and more easily, to the menuks/toolbars than VBA.
    However, to use WordBasic efficiently, one had to learn how to do a bit of programming. Most users cannot bother with or deal with programming.

    VBA is even further removed from a user friendly macro language.
    And suggesting that users use VB.NET or C# is crazy.

    The .NET stuff is far superior to VBA, but it is harder to use and, als, there is NO protection for managed code.
    Obfuscation is insufficient security.

    With VBA, I could at least compile the stuff into VB to protect the code.
    Also, even with Office 2003, VBA is still the only way to include macros with templates, workbooks, etc.
    Not to mention, VBA is still the only way to have macros that run in multiple versions of Office.

    MSFT has announced that Office 12 will include VBA.
    Office 13 is yet unknown.

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    Re: Starting in .NET

    I hate to admit it, but your analysis is just about right on the money.

    However, I would add this re: .Net. When I started, I found it rather easy
    and wondered what all the hollabaloo was about. Then I needed to know
    how to trap the keyboard, convert API calls, access Word objects and their
    myriad method and properties, etc, etc. Oye! It's uphill all the way now, and according
    to your timetable, I've got 4 years to go!
    Kevin <IMG SRC=http://www.wopr.com/w3tuserpics/Kevin_sig.gif alt="Keep the change, ya filthy animal...">
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    Re: Starting in .NET

    Prediction:

    VBA (or at least a "record a macro type language") will always be a part of Office.
    Kevin <IMG SRC=http://www.wopr.com/w3tuserpics/Kevin_sig.gif alt="Keep the change, ya filthy animal...">
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    Re: Starting in .NET

    >> the fact that Office isn't natively programmable using .NET and won't be at least until the version after Office 2003.

    I think a clarification is in order on that one, Gary. Word and Excel will be VS.net programmable in Office 2003. But,
    strangely enough, the 2003 beta newsgroups are missing a VSTO forum. Very strange.

    http://msdn.microsoft.com/library/default....ice12092002.asp
    Kevin <IMG SRC=http://www.wopr.com/w3tuserpics/Kevin_sig.gif alt="Keep the change, ya filthy animal...">
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    Re: Starting in .NET

    Not really.

    You will not be able to include the .NET stuff with Word documents and EXcel Workbooks.

    VSTO is just easing the task of usin the Office 2003 PIA.

    It's possib;e that Office 12 will be fully integrated with .NET.

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