Microsoft details first .Net-based server

During the opening keynote at Microsoft Corp.’s Tech Ed developer conference in New Orleans, the company will announce that the first fully .Net-enabled server, Commerce Server 2002, has been released to manufacturing, according to company officials.

Perhaps the most significant new features in Commerce Server are the Commerce Server .Net Application Framework, which will enable the creation of .Net-based applications and the .Net framework.

“In the past most of the servers could integrate with the .Net Framework, but this is the first to have native support,” said L.J. Germinario, technical product manager for Commerce Server at Microsoft, in Redmond, Wash.

Germinario continued that the new version has advancements in three specific areas: an application runtime that enables Commerce Server to integrate with applications built on ASP.Net (Active Server Pages); a class library set of APIs that developers can use to write to and access Commerce Server; and the Common Language Runtime interoperability layer, which serves as the bridge for the COM (Component Object Model) platform and .Net-based systems.

“Taking that one step further, when you look at the actual developer experience, the one thing we have done is tried to make Visual Studio .Net the single view of Commerce Server for the developer,” Germinario said.

For instance, she added, developers can walk through dialogues which enable them to create a Commerce Server application built in either C# or Visual Basic .Net without leaving the Visual Studio .Net IDE.

Specifically on the Web services front, Microsoft integrated Commerce Server with the Passport single sign-on authentication service.

Lastly, Commerce Server 2002 also included BizTalk adapters that enable catalog exchanges, purchase orders, and purchase updates between Commerce Server and BizTalk.

Commerce Server 2002 will be available in three editions. The enterprise edition, which costs US$19,999, includes unlimited CPUs. A standard edition sells for $6,999, and the developer edition costs $499.