What is .net

Discussion in 'ASP .Net Building Controls' started by Midnight Java Junkie, Jul 10, 2004.

  1. Dear Colleagues:

    I feel that the dumbest questions are those that are never asked. I have
    been given the opportunity to get into .NET. Our organization has a
    subscription with Microsoft that basically entitled to us to just about
    every .Net development tool you can imagine. I cant even begin to mention
    them.

    To begin with, my background is not that of a programmer, but a systems
    engineer and the closest I have come to "programming" is modifying a basic
    script here and there to accomplish something, when I mean basic, I do mean
    basic at the lowest level.

    So I have to do two things: First, I need to know what I can do with all of
    these .NET packages. I mean, can I use the to modify an application like
    Word 2002(XP) to have an added print dialogue. I work for a school so I can
    be sent to .Net classes, but I dont know what I could use to justify this
    expense. Essentially, I dont want to go to a bunch of .Net classes and then
    not be able to use them in the real world.

    So basically, if you have a nice little Active Directory network, with all
    of the AD bells and whistles and deployment abilities, policies, etc., what
    can I bring to the table with the .Net development tools I have before me?

    I know that .Net and VB .Net and ASP.Net can do a lot of things, but I just
    need a place to start. I am eager to start learning and about the only
    thing that I have not tackled in my life up till now is programming.

    Any pointing in the right direction would be greatly appreciated,

    Regards,

    Jolly Roger
     
    Midnight Java Junkie, Jul 10, 2004
    #1
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  2. Midnight Java Junkie

    Norman Yuan Guest

    ..NET is basically a development platform. If your primary duty is not
    developing/programming application, you probably do not need to learn
    programming in .NET. However to managing a "nice little" Windows AD network,
    as system engineer, you may be asked to install/deploy .NET based
    applications in your network soon and you do need to have some knowledge
    about .NET, 'cause .NET apps do involve quite some security/user account
    settings/configurations, and so on. For example, as system administrator,
    you should know how .NET apps developed on different version of .NET
    frameworks work side by side on the same computer; how shareable .NET *.dll
    file is shared, how the IIS is configured to run ASP.NET apps... and so on.
    So, if Windows platform is where you earn your bread, you'd better learn
    some .NET thing, whether you do programming or not.

    "Midnight Java Junkie" <> wrote in message
    news:9rKHc.62$...
    > Dear Colleagues:
    >
    > I feel that the dumbest questions are those that are never asked. I have
    > been given the opportunity to get into .NET. Our organization has a
    > subscription with Microsoft that basically entitled to us to just about
    > every .Net development tool you can imagine. I cant even begin to mention
    > them.
    >
    > To begin with, my background is not that of a programmer, but a systems
    > engineer and the closest I have come to "programming" is modifying a basic
    > script here and there to accomplish something, when I mean basic, I do

    mean
    > basic at the lowest level.
    >
    > So I have to do two things: First, I need to know what I can do with all

    of
    > these .NET packages. I mean, can I use the to modify an application like
    > Word 2002(XP) to have an added print dialogue. I work for a school so I

    can
    > be sent to .Net classes, but I dont know what I could use to justify this
    > expense. Essentially, I dont want to go to a bunch of .Net classes and

    then
    > not be able to use them in the real world.
    >
    > So basically, if you have a nice little Active Directory network, with all
    > of the AD bells and whistles and deployment abilities, policies, etc.,

    what
    > can I bring to the table with the .Net development tools I have before me?
    >
    > I know that .Net and VB .Net and ASP.Net can do a lot of things, but I

    just
    > need a place to start. I am eager to start learning and about the only
    > thing that I have not tackled in my life up till now is programming.
    >
    > Any pointing in the right direction would be greatly appreciated,
    >
    > Regards,
    >
    > Jolly Roger
    >
    >
     
    Norman Yuan, Jul 10, 2004
    #2
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  3. Thanks Norman:

    Whats a good place to start? There appear to be so many different .NET
    offerings and I basically need to turn to the powers that be and say. . .
    hey, we need this because I can do that and this with it. Its a harder sell
    than something like SQL training because our back end business critical
    system is going to a full SQL model in the next year, so thats a no brainer,
    but I really want to start learing .NET just because I woul like to be able
    to do things like add some features to Word, Excel, etc., that is, if its
    possible.

    Thanks for your time,

    Rog

    "Norman Yuan" <> wrote in message
    news:cKKHc.10854$iw3.6610@clgrps13...
    > .NET is basically a development platform. If your primary duty is not
    > developing/programming application, you probably do not need to learn
    > programming in .NET. However to managing a "nice little" Windows AD

    network,
    > as system engineer, you may be asked to install/deploy .NET based
    > applications in your network soon and you do need to have some knowledge
    > about .NET, 'cause .NET apps do involve quite some security/user account
    > settings/configurations, and so on. For example, as system administrator,
    > you should know how .NET apps developed on different version of .NET
    > frameworks work side by side on the same computer; how shareable .NET

    *.dll
    > file is shared, how the IIS is configured to run ASP.NET apps... and so

    on.
    > So, if Windows platform is where you earn your bread, you'd better learn
    > some .NET thing, whether you do programming or not.
    >
    > "Midnight Java Junkie" <> wrote in message
    > news:9rKHc.62$...
    > > Dear Colleagues:
    > >
    > > I feel that the dumbest questions are those that are never asked. I

    have
    > > been given the opportunity to get into .NET. Our organization has a
    > > subscription with Microsoft that basically entitled to us to just about
    > > every .Net development tool you can imagine. I cant even begin to

    mention
    > > them.
    > >
    > > To begin with, my background is not that of a programmer, but a systems
    > > engineer and the closest I have come to "programming" is modifying a

    basic
    > > script here and there to accomplish something, when I mean basic, I do

    > mean
    > > basic at the lowest level.
    > >
    > > So I have to do two things: First, I need to know what I can do with

    all
    > of
    > > these .NET packages. I mean, can I use the to modify an application

    like
    > > Word 2002(XP) to have an added print dialogue. I work for a school so I

    > can
    > > be sent to .Net classes, but I dont know what I could use to justify

    this
    > > expense. Essentially, I dont want to go to a bunch of .Net classes and

    > then
    > > not be able to use them in the real world.
    > >
    > > So basically, if you have a nice little Active Directory network, with

    all
    > > of the AD bells and whistles and deployment abilities, policies, etc.,

    > what
    > > can I bring to the table with the .Net development tools I have before

    me?
    > >
    > > I know that .Net and VB .Net and ASP.Net can do a lot of things, but I

    > just
    > > need a place to start. I am eager to start learning and about the only
    > > thing that I have not tackled in my life up till now is programming.
    > >
    > > Any pointing in the right direction would be greatly appreciated,
    > >
    > > Regards,
    > >
    > > Jolly Roger
    > >
    > >

    >
    >
     
    Midnight Java Junkie, Jul 10, 2004
    #3
  4. Midnight Java Junkie

    Scott Allen Guest

    For adding features to Office programs, you'll definetely want to look
    at Visual Studio Tools for Office:
    http://msdn.microsoft.com/smartclient/vsto/default.aspx

    There is a "Getting Started" section on that page.

    --
    Scott
    http://www.OdeToCode.com

    On Sat, 10 Jul 2004 05:28:22 GMT, "Midnight Java Junkie"
    <> wrote:

    >Thanks Norman:
    >
    >Whats a good place to start? There appear to be so many different .NET
    >offerings and I basically need to turn to the powers that be and say. . .
    >hey, we need this because I can do that and this with it. Its a harder sell
    >than something like SQL training because our back end business critical
    >system is going to a full SQL model in the next year, so thats a no brainer,
    >but I really want to start learing .NET just because I woul like to be able
    >to do things like add some features to Word, Excel, etc., that is, if its
    >possible.
    >
    >Thanks for your time,
    >
    >Rog
    >
     
    Scott Allen, Jul 10, 2004
    #4
  5. Midnight Java Junkie

    ME Guest

    I recommend the ASP.net features right off the bat. Quickly following that
    would be the Web Services .net can offer. Your ASP.net applications can be
    VERY user friendly and powerfully rich compared to standard html and even
    ASP.old. It has helped me in my web programming by leaps and bounds. It
    can improve the efficiency of many IntrAnet duties. Secondly the web
    services provide an external link to many public offerings you may wish to
    implement. For example you could have a web service that provides other
    schools information your school may need to share with them such as student
    records (not that I have any idea at all about how schools operate just mere
    speculation), the great thing is you can make it secure as well.. Just some
    thoughts.

    Hope it helps,

    Matt


    "Midnight Java Junkie" <> wrote in message
    news:W7LHc.206$...
    > Thanks Norman:
    >
    > Whats a good place to start? There appear to be so many different .NET
    > offerings and I basically need to turn to the powers that be and say. . .
    > hey, we need this because I can do that and this with it. Its a harder

    sell
    > than something like SQL training because our back end business critical
    > system is going to a full SQL model in the next year, so thats a no

    brainer,
    > but I really want to start learing .NET just because I woul like to be

    able
    > to do things like add some features to Word, Excel, etc., that is, if its
    > possible.
    >
    > Thanks for your time,
    >
    > Rog
    >
    > "Norman Yuan" <> wrote in message
    > news:cKKHc.10854$iw3.6610@clgrps13...
    > > .NET is basically a development platform. If your primary duty is not
    > > developing/programming application, you probably do not need to learn
    > > programming in .NET. However to managing a "nice little" Windows AD

    > network,
    > > as system engineer, you may be asked to install/deploy .NET based
    > > applications in your network soon and you do need to have some knowledge
    > > about .NET, 'cause .NET apps do involve quite some security/user account
    > > settings/configurations, and so on. For example, as system

    administrator,
    > > you should know how .NET apps developed on different version of .NET
    > > frameworks work side by side on the same computer; how shareable .NET

    > *.dll
    > > file is shared, how the IIS is configured to run ASP.NET apps... and so

    > on.
    > > So, if Windows platform is where you earn your bread, you'd better learn
    > > some .NET thing, whether you do programming or not.
    > >
    > > "Midnight Java Junkie" <> wrote in message
    > > news:9rKHc.62$...
    > > > Dear Colleagues:
    > > >
    > > > I feel that the dumbest questions are those that are never asked. I

    > have
    > > > been given the opportunity to get into .NET. Our organization has a
    > > > subscription with Microsoft that basically entitled to us to just

    about
    > > > every .Net development tool you can imagine. I cant even begin to

    > mention
    > > > them.
    > > >
    > > > To begin with, my background is not that of a programmer, but a

    systems
    > > > engineer and the closest I have come to "programming" is modifying a

    > basic
    > > > script here and there to accomplish something, when I mean basic, I do

    > > mean
    > > > basic at the lowest level.
    > > >
    > > > So I have to do two things: First, I need to know what I can do with

    > all
    > > of
    > > > these .NET packages. I mean, can I use the to modify an application

    > like
    > > > Word 2002(XP) to have an added print dialogue. I work for a school so

    I
    > > can
    > > > be sent to .Net classes, but I dont know what I could use to justify

    > this
    > > > expense. Essentially, I dont want to go to a bunch of .Net classes

    and
    > > then
    > > > not be able to use them in the real world.
    > > >
    > > > So basically, if you have a nice little Active Directory network, with

    > all
    > > > of the AD bells and whistles and deployment abilities, policies, etc.,

    > > what
    > > > can I bring to the table with the .Net development tools I have before

    > me?
    > > >
    > > > I know that .Net and VB .Net and ASP.Net can do a lot of things, but I

    > > just
    > > > need a place to start. I am eager to start learning and about the

    only
    > > > thing that I have not tackled in my life up till now is programming.
    > > >
    > > > Any pointing in the right direction would be greatly appreciated,
    > > >
    > > > Regards,
    > > >
    > > > Jolly Roger
    > > >
    > > >

    > >
    > >

    >
    >
     
    ME, Jul 10, 2004
    #5
  6. Midnight Java Junkie

    Kramer Guest

    If your plan is to stay with your current employer for the long term, then
    you might start by looking at the organization's long-term IT strategy and
    plans, and then look to align your interests; find something within their
    long-term plans that you would enjoy participating in. If you have some say
    in that long-term strategy, then you might look at the organization's
    mission and priorities (would it be to save money... or to have whistles and
    bells regardless of cost... or somewhere in the middle). In any case it
    might be a good idea to start with a problem to solve - high-level as it may
    need to be defined. The way you posed your question it almost sounds like
    you have discovered a bunch of solutions but don't have any real immediate
    problem to which they could be applied (beyond modifying Office apps). "I
    have a gun, is there a monster somewhere here that I can shoot?" as opposed
    to "geeze, there's a monster - how best to kill it?". .NET is big, very big
    (for fun, once you discover what the base class libraries are, see if you
    can get a current count of the number of functions contained within those
    libraries, and you'll see what I mean by big; and that's just the base class
    libraries). Perhaps the best advice you could get would come after you can
    tell us more specifically the kinds of IT problems your organization has
    currently, will have in 2 years, and is likely to have in 5 years; how many
    users, the kinds of IT tasks they perform, where they are geographically
    located (centrally or dispursed), the extent to which IT funding may be an
    issue, etc. Without knowing such things, it would be hard for us to give
    sound advice given the starting point you describe; we literally don't know
    what we are advising on. If you can provide more specifics on (1) your
    organization's IT needs and (2) your personal IT interests and goals, then
    we'd be glad to offer more specific direction.

    Good Luck...



    "Midnight Java Junkie" <> wrote in message
    news:9rKHc.62$...
    > Dear Colleagues:
    >
    > I feel that the dumbest questions are those that are never asked. I have
    > been given the opportunity to get into .NET. Our organization has a
    > subscription with Microsoft that basically entitled to us to just about
    > every .Net development tool you can imagine. I cant even begin to mention
    > them.
    >
    > To begin with, my background is not that of a programmer, but a systems
    > engineer and the closest I have come to "programming" is modifying a basic
    > script here and there to accomplish something, when I mean basic, I do

    mean
    > basic at the lowest level.
    >
    > So I have to do two things: First, I need to know what I can do with all

    of
    > these .NET packages. I mean, can I use the to modify an application like
    > Word 2002(XP) to have an added print dialogue. I work for a school so I

    can
    > be sent to .Net classes, but I dont know what I could use to justify this
    > expense. Essentially, I dont want to go to a bunch of .Net classes and

    then
    > not be able to use them in the real world.
    >
    > So basically, if you have a nice little Active Directory network, with all
    > of the AD bells and whistles and deployment abilities, policies, etc.,

    what
    > can I bring to the table with the .Net development tools I have before me?
    >
    > I know that .Net and VB .Net and ASP.Net can do a lot of things, but I

    just
    > need a place to start. I am eager to start learning and about the only
    > thing that I have not tackled in my life up till now is programming.
    >
    > Any pointing in the right direction would be greatly appreciated,
    >
    > Regards,
    >
    > Jolly Roger
    >
    >
     
    Kramer, Jul 10, 2004
    #6
  7. In news: 9rKHc.62$,
    Midnight Java Junkie <> wrote:

    Hi Jolly Roger,

    > Our organization
    > has a subscription with Microsoft that basically entitled to us to
    > just about every .Net development tool you can imagine. I cant even
    > begin to mention them.


    It sounds like what you have is an MSDN Universal Subscription. Assuming you
    don't have some sort of site license, the subscription is licensed to one
    person for development and testing only. That means you can set up a test
    network, installing Windows with the licenses from the MSDN disks and you
    can use Visual Studio to write programs that your organization can use.

    > So I have to do two things: First, I need to know what I can do with
    > all of these .NET packages.


    What I've done is look around at what the people in my organization do. I
    look for repetitive tasks that could be done by a computer program. I look
    at the needs they have to have information available at their fingertips and
    write apps to collect/enter the data and get it back out in various ways
    (queries and reports) that fit their needs.

    One program I've written creates an Excel workbook for each of our 20
    divisions and populates it with one worksheet for each person in that
    division. There are also summary pages that total up the salaries in that
    workbook. My program creates the formulas by putting together the
    appropriate formula strings and then entering them in the appropriate cells.
    These workbooks go out to our Divisions where we collect the anticipated
    salary data for the next budget year. When they come back I have a program
    that reads all the salary data back out and stores it in a table where we do
    other things with it.

    > So basically, if you have a nice little Active Directory network,
    > with all of the AD bells and whistles and deployment abilities,
    > policies, etc., what can I bring to the table with the .Net
    > development tools I have before me?


    One thing you can do with your MSDN license is to set up a test system where
    you can make sure any new service packs don't play well with the software
    your group uses.

    --
    Cindy Winegarden MCSD, Microsoft Visual FoxPro MVP
    www.cindywinegarden.com
     
    Cindy Winegarden, Jul 10, 2004
    #7
  8. Kramer. . .

    Jolly damnd good questions. . . I thank you.

    I currently work for a school that services the K-12 market. When it comes
    to the future of the organization, I play a rather large part in it.

    My most immediate goal in terms of writing 'something' would be a way to add
    something to the print dialogue box in programs like Word. We have little
    kids using some machines so its very hard for them to go file, then print.
    Ideally, this would be my first project, so that when they hit a modified,
    bigger, bolder print button, a dialogue box would pop up and ask them,
    perhaps with some type of friendly wizard type character, which printer they
    wanted to print to. . . then show them a little window with the pictures of
    the printers they have available.

    Thats basically one start of it.

    Other solutions are more along the lines of learning VB to script things.
    In combination with a simple script and a bit of programming (which, as I
    said, I know nothing about), I would like to create a script that tags
    machines when they connect to the network. The command I pulled out of a
    few books and tweaked as best I could which results in certain
    organizational unit machine groups shutting themselves off at different
    times of the day. This is well and good, but if a user has the workstation
    locked, there is no dialogue box that pops up and asks them to save their
    work or snooze the shutdown. Since a lot of our users walk away for the day
    without so much as signing off from their computers, a system policy locks
    their workstation after about twenty minutes of inactivity to have some form
    of security. In any event, another project would be one where that would be
    taken care of, but I know thats not a classic .net application.

    In terms of other solutions, it would be nice to create a delivery tracking
    mechanism for packages that arrive and then are misplaced for months at a
    time.

    I could identify a lot of solutions, if I sat down and put my mind to it,
    but my point is where to start with .NET. I want to get into it not for the
    sake of fiancial gain, but because programming is the one thing that I have
    yet to jump into - its a mystery to me and I dont like being totally in the
    dark when it comes to such matters.

    You asked me what my "personal IT interests and goals" are which I can
    simply answer. . . to learn. I want to learn as much as possible and, as I
    said, programming is the only thing that I know nothing about. I realize
    the power of .NET and what can be done with it. At this point, I just need
    to see which class to start with. I mean, do I go into a VB .NET starter
    class or just a VB starter class which, at the very least, would allow me to
    get into the finer points of scripting, which I know precious little about.

    For me its about the learning and accomplishment. . . if the money comes,
    hey, thats a good thing and I have been fortunate in that regard given the
    economy as a whole.

    Many thanks again,

    Roger


    your personal IT interests and goals, then
    > we'd be glad to offer more specific direction


    "Kramer" <> wrote in message
    news:...
    > If your plan is to stay with your current employer for the long term, then
    > you might start by looking at the organization's long-term IT strategy and
    > plans, and then look to align your interests; find something within their
    > long-term plans that you would enjoy participating in. If you have some

    say
    > in that long-term strategy, then you might look at the organization's
    > mission and priorities (would it be to save money... or to have whistles

    and
    > bells regardless of cost... or somewhere in the middle). In any case it
    > might be a good idea to start with a problem to solve - high-level as it

    may
    > need to be defined. The way you posed your question it almost sounds like
    > you have discovered a bunch of solutions but don't have any real immediate
    > problem to which they could be applied (beyond modifying Office apps). "I
    > have a gun, is there a monster somewhere here that I can shoot?" as

    opposed
    > to "geeze, there's a monster - how best to kill it?". .NET is big, very

    big
    > (for fun, once you discover what the base class libraries are, see if you
    > can get a current count of the number of functions contained within those
    > libraries, and you'll see what I mean by big; and that's just the base

    class
    > libraries). Perhaps the best advice you could get would come after you can
    > tell us more specifically the kinds of IT problems your organization has
    > currently, will have in 2 years, and is likely to have in 5 years; how

    many
    > users, the kinds of IT tasks they perform, where they are geographically
    > located (centrally or dispursed), the extent to which IT funding may be an
    > issue, etc. Without knowing such things, it would be hard for us to give
    > sound advice given the starting point you describe; we literally don't

    know
    > what we are advising on. If you can provide more specifics on (1) your
    > organization's IT needs and (2) your personal IT interests and goals, then
    > we'd be glad to offer more specific direction.
    >
    > Good Luck...
    >
    >
    >
    > "Midnight Java Junkie" <> wrote in message
    > news:9rKHc.62$...
    > > Dear Colleagues:
    > >
    > > I feel that the dumbest questions are those that are never asked. I

    have
    > > been given the opportunity to get into .NET. Our organization has a
    > > subscription with Microsoft that basically entitled to us to just about
    > > every .Net development tool you can imagine. I cant even begin to

    mention
    > > them.
    > >
    > > To begin with, my background is not that of a programmer, but a systems
    > > engineer and the closest I have come to "programming" is modifying a

    basic
    > > script here and there to accomplish something, when I mean basic, I do

    > mean
    > > basic at the lowest level.
    > >
    > > So I have to do two things: First, I need to know what I can do with

    all
    > of
    > > these .NET packages. I mean, can I use the to modify an application

    like
    > > Word 2002(XP) to have an added print dialogue. I work for a school so I

    > can
    > > be sent to .Net classes, but I dont know what I could use to justify

    this
    > > expense. Essentially, I dont want to go to a bunch of .Net classes and

    > then
    > > not be able to use them in the real world.
    > >
    > > So basically, if you have a nice little Active Directory network, with

    all
    > > of the AD bells and whistles and deployment abilities, policies, etc.,

    > what
    > > can I bring to the table with the .Net development tools I have before

    me?
    > >
    > > I know that .Net and VB .Net and ASP.Net can do a lot of things, but I

    > just
    > > need a place to start. I am eager to start learning and about the only
    > > thing that I have not tackled in my life up till now is programming.
    > >
    > > Any pointing in the right direction would be greatly appreciated,
    > >
    > > Regards,
    > >
    > > Jolly Roger
    > >
    > >

    >
    >
     
    Midnight Java Junkie, Jul 11, 2004
    #8
  9. Midnight Java Junkie

    Fred Guest

    Hi Roger,

    "Kramer" here... (or "Fred" or whoever I am today...). I'll try to be brief
    and answer your specifics..

    Regarding your most immediate goal... the print dialog box modifications...
    given that little kids are the end-users here, perhaps you could supply your
    own dialog box to Word or perhaps you could write a custom application that
    acts as a wrapper around Word - exposing only the functionality of Word the
    little kids are to have access to. In the latter case, you could make the UI
    as "little-kid-friendly" as you like (or have time and energy/money for). In
    any case, this is a pretty clear target, and you could get a bunch of
    guidance from the relevant news groups. Be sure that if you go for your own
    custom desktop application, that you understand the requirements of .NET.
    Specifically you will need to have the Common Language Runtime (aka "CLR")
    installed on each desktop (I know, I can already hear others piling on to
    say that this isn't the only alternative), but it is the most common and
    likely scenario you'd be looking at implementing. So perhaps regarding
    "where to start with .NET", you could look at the requirements (hardware and
    software) for installing and running ASP.NET desktop applications and Web
    applications (two very different sets of requirements - you'd do good to
    know this info if you don't already). The CLR is big, and the PCs in your
    school will need to be able to run it and support other minimal
    requirements. If they can't and won't for the foreseeable future, then that
    will make a bunch of decisions right there.

    Regarding "... I would like to create a script that tags machines when they
    connect to the network..." As I'm sure you are well aware, Active Directory
    with Group Policy Objects correctly designed and applied correctly can do
    practically any of the sorts of things you describe. That said, this is
    typically a whole different skill set than you will find with a competent
    programmer. More on this later...

    Regarding "...it would be nice to create a delivery tracking mechanism...":
    This sounds like its own new application - perhaps integrating with an
    existing order processing system? In any case, the way it's presented, I
    suspect this would be a brand new "from the ground, up" application that
    doesn't integrate with any other systems (at least not yet). It could be
    implemented as an ASP.NET Web application (would make sense if it's accessed
    from multiple geographically dispursed locations and you have a secure
    intranet), or a Windows Desktop application (excuse me, "Windows
    Application" in current parlance) if you want a richer UI and it's accessed
    pretty much from PCs on one LAN. Which type of app you chose has significant
    impliations for which skillsets you focus on first... more on this later...

    Let me be sure I'm clear on a few "facts" before proceeding to make
    recommendations.
    1. You have a rather large part to play in the future direction of your
    current employer (which is a K-12 school).
    2. You have a few immediate needs (network/Active Directory/GPO-oriented
    problems, and a couple of applications that could be created in the
    short-term.
    3. You just want to learn, and have no experience programming (nothing
    beyond tweaking a script here and there; you're right, that's not
    programming according to most full-time programmers)
    4. You don't know where to start (or you see way too many possible starting
    points), thus your question to the group.
    5. Unless I'm wrong (and I'm never wrong : ), you don't have anyone telling
    you what you need to do on your job - other than you need to come up with
    some solutions that people are happy with, and according to some generally
    reasonable timelines (but no one lighting a fire under your rear).

    Given your situation and objectives, I'll suggest a three-stage approach:

    Stage 1: Learn what's possible with .NET.

    Not in a general sense (".NET is going to save us from all of our sins");
    but in a very specific sense. That is, learn, at a very high-level, what
    each of the types of .NET applications are that you can create in Visual
    Studio.NET; they are: Windows Application, Class Library, Windows Control
    Library, Smart Device Application, ASP.NET Web Application, ASP.NET Web
    Service, ASP.NET Mobile Web Application, Web Control Library, Console
    Application, and Windows Service. DON'T Spend more than an hour or two
    reading up on each one... just be able to explain to yourself in plain
    English what each one does - and what kinds of problems it is designed to
    solve. When you are done with this one exercise, you will probably to be
    able to know - for yourself - that you only need to EVER concern yourself
    with 2, maybe 3 of them (and can then safely ignore the rest). Also as part
    of "Stage 1", learn what the hardware and software requirements are for
    installing each of the application types just listed. Read up on some
    general interest articles on .NET - read some real-world case studies just
    to see what people are doing out there with .NET. For fun, read up on some
    comparisons between .NET and J2EE (you'll find what smacks of an ongoing
    religious debate between the virtues of each.) Be sure that in your .NET and
    J2EE research that you take note of the licencing costs of J2EE components.
    Oh, and also compare the runtime performance differences where you can find
    any. The one's I've seen are astounding. Finally, to wrap up Stage 1, take a
    few hours to learn the fundamental differences between Web programming and
    desktop application programming. Web/Internet applications have their own
    unique set of challenges (particularly paying attention to the "stateless
    nature of the Web"). Anyway, the whole point of this so called Stage 1 is to
    get an idea of what's going on and what's possible with .NET - but very
    specifically in terms of the different types of applications.

    Stage 2: Decide what to focus on.

    You'll never be very good at anything if you try to know it all. There's
    simply too much already, and more is being added to the mix every day. Part
    of the point of Stage 1 is to put you in a position to intelligently decide
    what can be *safely ignored* by you given your current and long-term
    employment situation. When you decide what your focus will be (and you
    really do need to decide this at some point if you are ever going to create
    any non trivial solutions), then I strongly suggest that you fully immerce
    yourself in whatever that particular area is. The 'full immersion" would
    begin by you first identifying all the sources of information relevant to
    your area of inquiry. There is certainly the MSDN libraries, varous news
    groups, Web sites, training classes at the local J.C. or university
    extension, self-paced training from companies like AppDev, etc. Take some
    time to acquaint yourself with each. One source you rarely hear of is that
    you can hire a consultant to come in and train you. I've had clients
    approach me to simply work side-by-side with their programmers to help them
    up the learning curve as is specifically relevant to their company and
    current projects. If you have the budget, bring some top-notch developer in
    to work with you for a couple of weeks (if you'll find one willing to commit
    to such a short-term deal). Finally, it sounds like you are already have
    some working knowledge of networks. If you didn't have that, then I'd
    strongly suggest that you learn the basics (given that almost any non
    trivial solution you will need to create will operate across a network).

    Once you have gone through Stage 1 and 2, then you'll be in the position to
    answer your own questions about the print dialog and the order tracking
    application... at which point you can proceed to Stage 3:

    Stage 3. Build a real-world solution

    Just do something; there is absolutely no substitute for actually completing
    a non trivial real-world project. This is where your real expertise is
    gained.

    One last thing...

    ....you never mentioned a database: I'd strongly recommend that whatever
    types of applications you decide to focus on, that you include learning (1)
    relational database design in general and (2) SQL Server in particular. No
    matter what types of applications you decide to become an expert at, any/all
    of them will likely need to store data somewhere - and being that you are in
    the Microsoft world, SQL Server is likely to be the database of choice.
    Whatever you do, don't ignore the topic of "relational database design" -
    independent of any particular database (Oracle, Access, DB2, SQL Server). A
    good book to start with if you are new to that topic is titled "Database
    Design For Mear Mortals". At least cruise through that book if nothing else;
    at a minimum, read the chapter on bad database design. If you see yourself
    in that chapter, then you'll automatically want to read the rest of the
    book. Knowing the basics of good database design should be a 'must' beyond
    anything else you do. Put another way, if you start off with a bad database
    design, then your whole solution is screwed from the start.

    Okay, I actaully tried to be brief!

    Good Luck

    - Kramer (I mean Fred).
    MCSD, MCDBA, MCSE, MCSA






    "Midnight Java Junkie" <> wrote in message
    news:vV5Ic.10257$...
    > Kramer. . .
    >
    > Jolly damnd good questions. . . I thank you.
    >
    > I currently work for a school that services the K-12 market. When it

    comes
    > to the future of the organization, I play a rather large part in it.
    >
    > My most immediate goal in terms of writing 'something' would be a way to

    add
    > something to the print dialogue box in programs like Word. We have little
    > kids using some machines so its very hard for them to go file, then print.
    > Ideally, this would be my first project, so that when they hit a modified,
    > bigger, bolder print button, a dialogue box would pop up and ask them,
    > perhaps with some type of friendly wizard type character, which printer

    they
    > wanted to print to. . . then show them a little window with the pictures

    of
    > the printers they have available.
    >
    > Thats basically one start of it.
    >
    > Other solutions are more along the lines of learning VB to script things.
    > In combination with a simple script and a bit of programming (which, as I
    > said, I know nothing about), I would like to create a script that tags
    > machines when they connect to the network. The command I pulled out of a
    > few books and tweaked as best I could which results in certain
    > organizational unit machine groups shutting themselves off at different
    > times of the day. This is well and good, but if a user has the

    workstation
    > locked, there is no dialogue box that pops up and asks them to save their
    > work or snooze the shutdown. Since a lot of our users walk away for the

    day
    > without so much as signing off from their computers, a system policy locks
    > their workstation after about twenty minutes of inactivity to have some

    form
    > of security. In any event, another project would be one where that would

    be
    > taken care of, but I know thats not a classic .net application.
    >
    > In terms of other solutions, it would be nice to create a delivery

    tracking
    > mechanism for packages that arrive and then are misplaced for months at a
    > time.
    >
    > I could identify a lot of solutions, if I sat down and put my mind to it,
    > but my point is where to start with .NET. I want to get into it not for

    the
    > sake of fiancial gain, but because programming is the one thing that I

    have
    > yet to jump into - its a mystery to me and I dont like being totally in

    the
    > dark when it comes to such matters.
    >
    > You asked me what my "personal IT interests and goals" are which I can
    > simply answer. . . to learn. I want to learn as much as possible and, as

    I
    > said, programming is the only thing that I know nothing about. I realize
    > the power of .NET and what can be done with it. At this point, I just

    need
    > to see which class to start with. I mean, do I go into a VB .NET starter
    > class or just a VB starter class which, at the very least, would allow me

    to
    > get into the finer points of scripting, which I know precious little

    about.
    >
    > For me its about the learning and accomplishment. . . if the money comes,
    > hey, thats a good thing and I have been fortunate in that regard given the
    > economy as a whole.
    >
    > Many thanks again,
    >
    > Roger
    >
    >
    > your personal IT interests and goals, then
    > > we'd be glad to offer more specific direction

    >
    > "Kramer" <> wrote in message
    > news:...
    > > If your plan is to stay with your current employer for the long term,

    then
    > > you might start by looking at the organization's long-term IT strategy

    and
    > > plans, and then look to align your interests; find something within

    their
    > > long-term plans that you would enjoy participating in. If you have some

    > say
    > > in that long-term strategy, then you might look at the organization's
    > > mission and priorities (would it be to save money... or to have whistles

    > and
    > > bells regardless of cost... or somewhere in the middle). In any case it
    > > might be a good idea to start with a problem to solve - high-level as it

    > may
    > > need to be defined. The way you posed your question it almost sounds

    like
    > > you have discovered a bunch of solutions but don't have any real

    immediate
    > > problem to which they could be applied (beyond modifying Office apps).

    "I
    > > have a gun, is there a monster somewhere here that I can shoot?" as

    > opposed
    > > to "geeze, there's a monster - how best to kill it?". .NET is big, very

    > big
    > > (for fun, once you discover what the base class libraries are, see if

    you
    > > can get a current count of the number of functions contained within

    those
    > > libraries, and you'll see what I mean by big; and that's just the base

    > class
    > > libraries). Perhaps the best advice you could get would come after you

    can
    > > tell us more specifically the kinds of IT problems your organization has
    > > currently, will have in 2 years, and is likely to have in 5 years; how

    > many
    > > users, the kinds of IT tasks they perform, where they are geographically
    > > located (centrally or dispursed), the extent to which IT funding may be

    an
    > > issue, etc. Without knowing such things, it would be hard for us to give
    > > sound advice given the starting point you describe; we literally don't

    > know
    > > what we are advising on. If you can provide more specifics on (1) your
    > > organization's IT needs and (2) your personal IT interests and goals,

    then
    > > we'd be glad to offer more specific direction.
    > >
    > > Good Luck...
    > >
    > >
    > >
    > > "Midnight Java Junkie" <> wrote in message
    > > news:9rKHc.62$...
    > > > Dear Colleagues:
    > > >
    > > > I feel that the dumbest questions are those that are never asked. I

    > have
    > > > been given the opportunity to get into .NET. Our organization has a
    > > > subscription with Microsoft that basically entitled to us to just

    about
    > > > every .Net development tool you can imagine. I cant even begin to

    > mention
    > > > them.
    > > >
    > > > To begin with, my background is not that of a programmer, but a

    systems
    > > > engineer and the closest I have come to "programming" is modifying a

    > basic
    > > > script here and there to accomplish something, when I mean basic, I do

    > > mean
    > > > basic at the lowest level.
    > > >
    > > > So I have to do two things: First, I need to know what I can do with

    > all
    > > of
    > > > these .NET packages. I mean, can I use the to modify an application

    > like
    > > > Word 2002(XP) to have an added print dialogue. I work for a school so

    I
    > > can
    > > > be sent to .Net classes, but I dont know what I could use to justify

    > this
    > > > expense. Essentially, I dont want to go to a bunch of .Net classes

    and
    > > then
    > > > not be able to use them in the real world.
    > > >
    > > > So basically, if you have a nice little Active Directory network, with

    > all
    > > > of the AD bells and whistles and deployment abilities, policies, etc.,

    > > what
    > > > can I bring to the table with the .Net development tools I have before

    > me?
    > > >
    > > > I know that .Net and VB .Net and ASP.Net can do a lot of things, but I

    > > just
    > > > need a place to start. I am eager to start learning and about the

    only
    > > > thing that I have not tackled in my life up till now is programming.
    > > >
    > > > Any pointing in the right direction would be greatly appreciated,
    > > >
    > > > Regards,
    > > >
    > > > Jolly Roger
    > > >
    > > >

    > >
    > >

    >
    >
     
    Fred, Jul 12, 2004
    #9
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