IntraWeb Archive

IntraWeb XII and .NET?

IntraWeb XII and .NET?

A few users have responded sternly about our proposal that we might rely on .NET for IntraWeb XII on the server side. No decisions have been made regarding this, but here are some important things to consider.

“.NET should be optional”

For the client side where we use Silverlight, it will be optional. Only certain components will use Silverlight. If you do not use these components, users will not need Silverlight installed. However for the server side, its either .NET or not. It cannot be optional.

Will ASP.NET controls be supported if XII uses .NET?

Certainly we would like to investigate ASP.NET controls, but at this point it appears that at least initially it will not be possible. Later some ASP.NET controls may be usable. However this is not the motivation for using .NET.

Why .NET?

Using CrossTalk, we have the option of using not only Delphi libraries, but .NET libraries which really expands our options. Things like OpenID, HTML5 parsing/validation, CSS parsing/validation. These are just a few things where there are some very compelling options in .NET that are not always equally as robust in the Delphi world.

To use these libraries we could use CrossTalk, and thats why we’ve started this discussion. Nothing is set in stone, or even Jello for XII yet. But the option of using .NET libraries would deliver massive improvements in features for IntraWeb which if we stick to Delphi alone either will not happen, or will require a lot more coding, which will then affect other features.

This of course does introduce a .NET dependency on the server side.

.NET as an installation requirement?

Consider the following:

  • Windows Server 2003 includes .NET. 1.1
  • SQL Server 2005 requires .NET 2.0.
  • Windows Server Core includes .NET 2.0.
    • All other server roles (including ones required to run IntraWeb StandAlone or IIS) require .NET 3.5 and install it automatically.
  • SQL Server 2008 requires .NET 3.5.
  • SQL Server
    • Is installed by most web hosting companies
    • Many Microsoft products require SQL Server Express (or higher) and will install SQL Server Express if not found. This also installs .NET.
  • Other applications which may be installed on your server which require .NET
    • Sharepoint
    • Microsoft Office (including any server parts of Office)
    • Exchange
    • System Center Operation Manager
    • SQL Server Management Studio
    • Microsoft Office Accounting
    • Microsoft Dynamics

So the chances that your server already has .NET installed, are quite large.

XII Time Frame

XII likely is about 1 year away. HTML 5 is not released yet, but in the next 1-2 years it should be more commonly used as support for the draft specifications of HTML 5 improves in the browsers.

There are still plenty of Windows 2003 servers out there, but in the next year or two they will start to fade out quickly in favor of 2008. Thats the market XI is shooting for, the next 1-2 years, i.e. where will things be then. Thats also why we are going for HTML 5.

Our Thoughts

Considering that:

  • XII is probably a year out
  • XII is targeting the market 1-2 years from now
    • by then Windows Server 2008 will be the majority of Windows Server installations by far
    • SQL Server 2008 and Express will take over from 2005 on most installations
    • .NET will already be installed on these servers
  • .NET and .NET based libraries offer IntraWeb a lot of new options and functionality

It seems very logical that we should use .NET for some parts of IntraWeb XII.