It has been quiet in the software industry lately. The real revelations in new technology have been few and far between. The last big paradigm shift was XML and component oriented development and that was a couple of years ago. Users are experiencing changes, sure! There hardly is a plain desktop application anymore. Almost every app runs over the web or has some web component to it. Even traditional packages such as QuickBooks now come in a web version. But for us developers, those things are yesterday's news. The web is part of the everyday life just like the grocery store next door or using a blow dryer. XML has been around for a while, and the Component Object Model (COM) goes way back into the OLE 1.0 days. Sure, improvements have been made, but those were more evolutionary than paradigm shifts. We were able to take it easy, for a change.

All of this is about to change!

Microsoft is about to release a set of new technologies that will seriously rattle the developer community! Visual Studio.NET is available in a first public beta and it is seriously different. Visual Basic.NET is hardly the language it used to be, C# is an entirely new language altogether (similar to C++, but so much easier to use, it is hard not to forget that fact), .NET Assemblies replace the current COM system (although interoperability is a high priority item and the new mechanism seems to map well to the COM way of doing business), XML is driving the whole story and COM objects we have used so far to build our applications have been replaced by the .NET Framework which provides similar functionality but new ways of achieving the goals.

All of this is really exciting! I like the way things work in .NET, I like cross-language inheritance, I like C#, and I like the .NET Framework. But let's make one thing clear right from the start: This stuff is different! Don't think ADO.NET is a cakewalk, because you already know ADO. Don't even begin to compare the MFC with WinForms and stop reading that ASP book to get a head start on ASP.NET.

So how do you keep up with all of this?

With Component Developer Magazine, we aim to give you an excellent resource by providing a number of cutting edge articles in every issue and on our web site ( In this issue, we extended our focus to C# and some other up-to-date issues. However, when facing such extraordinary amounts of new information, extraordinary measures need to be taken! For this reason, we have teamed up with Tech Conferences to sponsor a number of conferences this spring.

We picked Tech Conferences as our partner because we simply believe that they organize the highest value events currently available. At each location, multiple, related events are hosted and the attendee gets to attend multiple conferences for the price of one. An outstanding value when you consider the different skills you need these days to master the development cycle. Not to mention the time (and money) it would take to attend 4 or 5 separate conferences each year.

The year starts out with 2 conferences at the “Big Easy” (New Orleans) from April 1st to 4th: XML and ASP Connections. There is no need to point out all the new technologies such as ASP.NET, BizTalk, Web Services, etc. They have been announced for a long time and are finally available. Yours truly (Markus Egger) has the honor of exploring the details of Microsoft's BizTalk Server 2000 in great detail at two of his sessions as a speaker at XML Connections. Just this conference alone features over 35 different topics covered in great detail. ASP Connections adds another 50+ sessions to that list.

If you are a Windows 2000 or Exchange 2000 Administrator, the Windows 2000 and Exchange conference in Monterey is a must-see (May 8th - 11th)! If you are a developer, you should seriously think about utilizing Exchange Server, Windows Security, Active Directory Services and other exciting Windows 2000 technologies in your applications. This conference features the best of the best! Windows 2000 Magazine sends several of their star-authors such as Mark Minasi, Mark Smith and Karen Forster, among others.

From May 13th - 16th, we are switching into high-gear in Orlando: 4 conferences for the price of one! VFP DevCon Connections, Visual Studio Connections (VB), C++ Connections and SQL Server Connections. How could you possibly go wrong with that? Component Developer Magazine has teamed up with Tech Conferences to participate in the content management of this event. This will guarantee the same level of content as you are used to finding in the magazine. Markus Egger and Rick Strahl will be speakers at the conference as well as other EPS employees and other industry experts. I haven't even counted the total number of sessions attendees get to see. VB developers will see the latest and greatest about VB7. Industry experts, as well as Microsoft Visual Studio.NET team members, are teaching the essentials. The same is true for C++ developers (want to learn everything about C#?). SQL Server 2000 was released a short time ago and is a truly amazing product. This is a great chance to get a fast-start.

VFP DevCon Connections will be the officla launch event of VFP7!

A significant numbers of our readers are Visual FoxPro developers. If you are among them, you surely are looking forward to the 2001 Visual FoxPro DevCon Connections. And rightfully so! Without spilling the beans, I can promise you a conference with more exciting news than VFP developers have received in a long time! The conference also runs a free (space is limited and assigned on a first-signup first-serve basis) additional track for 2 days, starting a day before the main conference, explaining .NET from a Visual FoxPro point of view. Due to this track, the VB and VC++ conferences are not advertised as additional free conferences for VFP developers. However, attendees are certainly welcome to attend sessions at these conferences as well. As if this isn't enough, we will also add 3 days of Double Impact training for the real in-depth information about distributed and web development! (You can find more information about all of these conferences at and

And if that is not enough for you, get yourself a good book! All the major publishers have .NET and new VFP books on their list. Some of them have already been released and will help you navigate various beta versions. We have added a “Book Reviews” section to Component Developer Magazine to give you a guideline in what's hot and what's not. This section will not only cover new releases, but also classics every developer should read (many of them are on the required reading list at EPS). Of course, we are only able to review a small number of books. If you have any book reviews you would like to share with us, please feel free to do so!

We are also working on some major changes here at Component Developer Magazine! After having some issues with our Internet Service Provider (see the column in the last issue), we are finally making progress in moving our web servers. We are confident that by the time you read these lines, the new Component Developer Magazine web site is up and running, which includes our interactive (!) article system as well our online authors community. Visit us at!

Rick Strahl and Markus Egger, Editors