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Q&A with Shawn Nandi on the ASP.NET Starter Kits

  • By Bradley L. Jones
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Microsoft announced the ASP.NET Starter Kits. For more on these new products from Microsoft, see our article, Microsoft Does It Again — Released Today: The ASP.NET Starter Kits Betas on Developer.com, Bradley Jones asked Shawn Nandi, the ASP.NET product manager, a few questions about these new products:

Thanks, Shawn, for taking a few minutes to answer our questions. If you don't mind, let's jump right in to a few questions. The first question is, why is Microsoft releasing the ASP.NET Starter Kits?

Shawn Nandi
As part of our ongoing investment in the ASP.NET community, we wanted to provide both new and experienced ASP.NET developers with a quick way to get some extremely useful applications up and running with little or no effort. Many developers today find themselves building applications like data reporting apps, Web storefronts, and portals. Instead of having to code these applications from scratch, developers can now use the ASP.NET Starter Kits out of the box or as a starting point to build their sites on top of. To help them with this, each Starter Kit ships with well-documented source code for use in Visual Studio .NET and Web Matrix (a free ASP.NET development tool). If they ever have any questions, they can consult the experts on the www.asp.net forums where thousands of members of the community interact with the ASP.NET product team every day.

The .NET Framework, which includes compilers, a great class library, several utilities, and a runtime is available for free. Additionally, the Web matrix was released for free. Now the ASP.NET Starter Kits are coming out as free products. How is Microsoft planning to justify the cost of these products? How is Microsoft indirectly making its money?

Shawn Nandi
Our overall objective with these efforts is to enable developers to efficiently build reliable, scalable, and secure applications for their organizations and their customers. We share a common base of customers with software developers, which means that when their customers are happy, our customers are happy, too. As you note, the .NET Framework provides several useful utilities and a robust runtime environment. Initiatives like Web Matrix and the Starter Kits are designed to help Web developers get up and running quickly with ASP.NET. It's interesting stuff and we want developers as interested and passionate as the great teams that built this technology. If one developer builds a cool application using the ASP.NET Starter Kits and likes what they see, that's what is important.

The ASP.NET Starter Kits come with code for Visual Basic .NET, J#, and C#. Additionally, they have code developed within Visual Studio .NET as well as code developed outside of Visual Studio. Are there plans for these ASP.NET Starter Kits to be converted to other .NET programming languages?

Shawn Nandi
The ASP.NET Starter Kits come in three different languages (Visual Basic .NET, C#, and J#) and within each language, there are two versions: Visual Studio .NET or SDK. The Visual Studio .NET version contains source code formatted for use in Visual Studio .NET, while the SDK version contains code meant for use with Web Matrix or simply the .NET Framework SDK. We don't have any plans to translate the Starter Kits into other .NET languages but anyone is free to do so, and I'd bet that someone in the community is working on that right now!

Why these five particular topics for Starter Kits? How did you decide on these five?

Shawn Nandi
We speak with a ton of developers and we've found that these applications represent the most popular types of applications that people are building today. We wanted to make developers immediately productive, so we focused on these five.

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This article was originally published on February 11, 2003

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