Looking Backwards: Next Generation Web Services

It is New Year’s Eve, which is a great time to look back. I recently had a discussion with a few people about an interesting topic. Have you heard of Next Generation Web Services (NGWS)?

If you search for Next Generation Web Services, you’ll find a number of results, but if you want to see one of the first uses of this term, then go to www.Wikipedia.com and search for it there. Interestingly, when I just did this, I landed on the .NET Framework page (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NGWS). You’ll see on that page, that NGWS was an original name for the .NET Framework prior to its release.

I had the pleasure of working with Christoph Wille and several people at Microsoft to product the first book on the C# programming language, Presenting C#, which published in July of 2000 over a decade ago. It published just in time to make it to the beta announcement that summer in Orlando, Florida.

One of the challenges of that book was getting Microsoft to nail down the name of the framework that would be used with C#. You’ll find that they settled on NGWS. For several days, as we put final touches on the book, I recall conversations with Microsoft o whether the name would be COM++, NGWS, or some other name. They settled on NGWS only to change it once again a few days later — but after the book had gone to the printer.

While the .NET Framework has retained its name since July of 2000, the framework itself has changed quite a bit in the past decade. Not only has it increased on size and scope, it has split into a number of focused platforms targeting embedded systems, mobile systems, and more.

As we move into 2012, it will be interesting to see how the .NET Framework continues to evolve. With the release of public betas for Windows 8 and a push for a paradigm change to Metro-styled applications, it seems like we could be headed for the next generation of applications and services. While these aren’t like to be built on anything called NGWS, the question will be how much of the .NET Framework will be used for these. HTML5, JavaScript, and CSS gain value, but it does seem like .NET is here to be used as well.

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