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Programming the .NET Compact Framework in Visual Basic .NET

by Paul Yao & David Durant
The .NET Compact Framework is a programming interface and runtime library created as a combination of two Microsoft technologies: Windows CE, an operating system for mobile and embedded 'smart devices', and .NET, Microsoft's reinvention of its programming interfaces and its developer tools.
What is .Net
From the moment Microsoft made its .NET initiative public, the question was: "What is .NET?" The short answer is that it is a branding that covers all the different parts of a larger strategy. Another answer, from the Microsoft web site, offers the following, pithy explanation:
Microsoft® .NET is a set of software technologies for connecting information, people, systems, and devices. This new generation of technology is based on Web services—small building-block applications that can connect to each other as well as to other, larger applications over the Internet.
This explanation focuses on the new features that .NET introduces: the network focus for .NET. Towards that end, it mentions one element of .NET: Web services. If you interpret this too literally, you risk missing the larger picture that .NET addresses. At this point, this much should be clear: .NET is a large undertaking by a large company.

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