Thursday, February 28, 2008

Microsoft .NET - 10 Great Resources for One Great Technology

.NET is the hottest thing these days in developer circles specially now with the release of Visual Studio 2008 (Orcas) from Microsoft. It can take advantage of all the new features introduced in Windows Vista and the 2007 Office System. The .NET technology specially became very popular when the 2.0 version of it was released. The response was huge and lakhs of sites are using this technology to deliver rich content. Silverlight technology and the Microsoft Expression series of products added to it and briged the gap between the designer and developers. Silverlight specially makes it very much easy to created RIAs(Rich Internet Applications). So .NET is not a small thing, its includes a truckload of components to learn and implement be it the disconnected data model of ADO.NET or the highly scaleble server side programming model of ASP.NET. Almost any type of application can be developed in the .NET Framework including Desktop Application, Class Libraries, Windows Services, Web Applications, AJAX enabled Web Applications, Web Services, Data enabled Web and Windows Applications etc. The only thing that the .NET framework is not suitable for are low level device drivers and stuff like that.
.NET framework is platform independent, provides language interoperability, cross language integration, integration with older technologies like COM and Windows DNA, a large number of languages to program in, and lots more. Now to leverage all of this stuff, you need to have proper resources with you. Books alone are not good enough.
Fortunately there are a lot of websites that have good information and training material on .NET that one can use. I am posting here the ones that i use the most:-

1. http://msdn.microsoft.com/
The very first place you should look at for anything related to .NET
2. http://www.asp.net/
A good place for learning material related to ASP.NET and related technologies like AJAX.
3. http://www.codeplex.com/
A community driven forum for open source projects on .NET
4. http://www.neowin.com/forums
A good place for any query regarding computing. The members are very helping and you'll get response almost always.
5. http://www.codezone.com/
Codezone connects you with top-rated user groups, meetings, community sites, blogs, forums, events and breaking news. It’s a place for developers to share and promote top-notch content and community resources.
6. http://forums.msdn.com/MSDN
The MSDN Forums allow you to search a growing archive of technical questions and answers.
7. http://msdn2.microsoft.com/en-us/events/default.aspx
The MSDN events and Webcasts homepage is a nice place to get live webcasts and videos from Microsoft employees themselves.
8. http://channel9.msdn.com/
Channel 9 provides direct, unfiltered, and open access to Microsoft’s cockpit. Meet the people who think up and build Microsoft’s technologies, interact with your peers, share your ideas and applications.
9.http://msdn.microsoft.com/newsgroups/topic.aspx?url=/MSDN-FILES/028/201/317/topic.xml
Microsoft .NET Development Newsgroup. Get involved in discussions on various aspects related to .NET Development here with MVPs and Microsoft Employees, as well as other people like you.
10. http://www.learnvisualstudio.net/
A great place to find video tutorials related to .NET technologies. Although the site is paid, you can get many free videos there as well as signup for the monthly newsletter for getting free videos every month.

So thats all for now. Whenever i get more resources, i'll update this list (as well as its title :-) ). Hope these resources help finding your way in world of Microsoft .NET. :-)
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