We Studied, We Passed, Was It Worth It?

  • Andy,

    From your experience what are the advantages of dot.net over the previous MS offerings.

    We are having a struggle to get dot.net into our company and at this stage we're at the "we want it because we don't want to become obsolete in the jobs market" stage. Obviously this won't wash with management.

    Are there business benefits or is it just a case of not being able to buy old technology?

  • That's a hard question to answer fairly. I consider .Net technically better (inheritance, try/catch, real threading). If you're a VB6 developer, Vb.Net is a nice upgrade. In my opinion if you're an ASP developer it's a must have. You get code behind and it's compiled, light years from Interdev. Some of the syntax has changed, but the single biggest thing you have to (re) learn is data access. Stored procs and queries haven't changed, but datasets are a lot different than ADO recordsets. I'm still not entirely comfortable with them (in fairness I don't code as much as I'd like, we still have a lot of VB6 "legacy" code. I think it's a worthwhile upgrade.

    One other thing - I recently installed the final beta of .Net 2003, you should see how easy Pocket PC development is. You get a palm sized form, you drag/drop controls, write code - then you can deploy to the device or to an emulate that is GOOD, when you start it the first time you have to enter timezone it's so good.

    From an ROI perspective, hard to prove. Working with it, I'd say it's similar to the differences between 6.5/7.0 and 2000. Yes, both store data, but 2K is much smoother and polished, that helps in ways that are hard to measure and/or explain.

    We're an MS shop and I've invested a lot of time in MS certs so I'm probably biased.



  • Just my opinion, but we moved to .Net for our product development around 10 months ago, and I think that it has resulted only in good things, well nearly only good things. Although we use c# not VB.Net, I think the issues encountered could be similar. Just before delving into it, we develop web applications (e.g. OLAP analytical tool) and usually use WinForms for internal testbeds only (ie no products in field).

    For us the biggest downside of changing over was our people not knowing enough (from our training or their personal study) about what the .Net framework offers the developer. Conversely, these improvements provided by the framework are what is making me rave to everyone I know about the .Net framework, and ASP.Net in particular.

    If you're looking for productivity gains, look at how you are:

    Classic asp --> ASP.Net

    - Debugging (classic) asp --> Tracing ability within ASP.net rocks, plus whilst in System.Diagnostics, do some writing to the event log to help your production debugging

    - Writing pages to handle differing browser types --> ASP.net server controls

    - Multilingual issues --> use resource files, change thread context and presto

    - using tables to place *everything* --> try out the Placeholders and Panels

    - Data entry validation --> try the validation controls

    I could go on and on. Basically our guys were doing heaps of client side script, tables and basic hoop jumping to do their *magic* , that (most) of this is available from the server side using a strongly typed language (of choice, go for VB.net or c# , or cobol.net 🙂 ) is in my opinion better than sliced bread.

    Yes, our guys had to learn c# (all previously VB6 developers - com+ & asp focus), and yes, the initial curve was steep and approx 3-5 mths (depends on dev level/experience) but the benefits are and can be huge.

    Frequently, I am caught telling people I wished we had ASP.Net (including the webservices) 2 years ago.

    Enough raving, we have found that our productivity has increased and the standard of code/product produced is much higher.

    Yep, we're a MSft shop too, does that make me biased? Keep in mind you're reading this on SQLSERVERCentral.com, not Oracle or Sun 🙂



  • As somebody who is considering the exams (and paying for them myself!) I found the article pretty useful particularly the opinions of books and teaching aids. However as a VB6/SQL/Access developer my biggest .Net question is what is c# all about? Should I be investing in it rather than VB? Is it intended to replace VB and or C++? Is it more capable than VB? Why should I use it?


  • The pros and cons have been debated quite a bit since .Net launched. I've been using VB forever, didn't see a compelling reason to change. I'd suggest you try both, see which one appeals to you (much like you'd try Spanish and French, then pick the one you found to be 'best'), then try to master it - yet learn enough about the other to get by. The concepts stay the same, syntax is a little different.

  • The one reason I'm forcing myself to learn C# is that documentation can be included in the source code, and VB doesn't support this.  Still, case-sensitivity and forced ending characters are not friends of mine....

  • There is an add in called Ndoc that does much the same for VB. Havent looked to see if the behavior changes in VS.Net 2005, wouldnt be surprised.

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