Server Application Development

Server Application Development

Server-side applications in the managed world are implemented through runtime hosts. Unmanaged applications host the common language runtime which allows your custom managed code to control the behavior of the server. This model provides you with all the features of the common language runtime and class library while gaining the performance and scalability of the host server.

The following illustration shows a basic network schema with managed code running in different server environments. Servers such as the Microsoft Internet Information Server (IIS) and the Microsoft SQL Server (MS-SQL) can perform standard operations while your application logic executes through the managed code.

Server-side managed code

ASP.NET is the hosting environment that enables developers to use the .NET Framework to target Web-based applications. However, ASP.NET is more than just a runtime host; it is a complete architecture for developing Web sites and Internet-distributed objects using managed code. Both Web Forms and XML Web services use IIS and ASP.NET as the publishing mechanism for applications, and both have a collection of supporting classes in the .NET Framework.

XML Web services, an important evolution in Web-based technology, are distributed, server-side application components similar to common Web sites. However, unlike Web-based applications, XML Web services components have no UI and are not targeted for browsers such as Internet Explorer and Netscape Navigator. Instead, XML Web services consist of reusable software components designed to be consumed by other applications, such as traditional client applications, Web-based applications, or even other XML Web services. As a result, XML Web services technology is rapidly moving application development and deployment into the highly distributed environment of the Internet.

If you have used earlier versions of the ASP technology, you will immediately notice the improvements that ASP.NET and Web Forms offer. For example, you can develop Web Forms pages in any language that supports the .NET Framework. In addition, your code no longer needs to share the same file with your HTTP text (although it can continue to do so if you prefer).

Web Forms pages execute in native machine language because, like any other managed application, they take full advantage of the runtime. In contrast, unmanaged ASP pages are always scripted and interpreted.

ASP.NET pages are faster, more functional, and easier to develop than unmanaged ASP pages because they interact with the runtime like any managed application. The .NET Framework also provides a collection of classes and tools to aid in development and consumption of XML Web services applications. XML Web services are built on standards such as SOAP (a remote procedure-call protocol), XML (an extensible data format), and WSDL ( the Web Services Description Language). The .NET Framework is built on these standards to promote interoperability with non-Microsoft solutions.

For example: the Web Services Description Language tool included with the .NET Framework SDK can query an XML Web service published on the Web, parse its WSDL description, and produce C# or Visual Basic source code that your application can use to become a client of the XML Web service. The source code can create classes derived from classes in the class library that handle all the underlying communication using SOAP and XML parsing. Although you can use the class library to consume XML Web services directly, the Web Services Description Language tool and the other tools contained in the SDK facilitate your development efforts with the .NET Framework.

If you develop and publish your own XML Web service, the .NET Framework provides a set of classes that conform to all the underlying communication standards, such as SOAP, WSDL, and XML. Using those classes enables you to focus on the logic of your service, without concerning yourself with the communications infrastructure required by distributed software development.

Finally, like Web Forms pages in the managed environment, your XML Web service will run with the speed of native machine language using the scalable communication of the Microsoft Internet Information Server (IIS).

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