GotDotNet is a Microsoft-sponsored site with a mission to promote collaboration between .NET developers. Although there is a fair amount of advocacy to contend with here, GotDotNet is an excellent resource for those developers who are itching to find more information about, or get started working with, Microsoft’s upcoming Microsoft.NET framework. Figure A has the at-a-glance review.

Figure A’s at-a-glance review

When you visit the site, you’ll see a variety of content available in the navigation bars on either side of the page. Register for a Microsoft Passport and then log in, and you’ll be able to customize the content of GotDotNet’s main page, build a personal profile, and contribute code to the site’s large code library.

Getting to know you
The Get To Know .NET section contains quite a few articles and resources providing background information on the .NET framework. Here, you’ll find an overview of the framework and information on various .NET languages like ASP.NET, VB.NET, and Visual Studio.NET. There are also background documents on the Common Language Runtime (CLR), .NET’s security model, distributed application framework, and Microsoft’s mobile code initiative. You can download the .NET framework beta and order the Visual Studio.NET beta from Microsoft, as well.

The next section, .NET Samples, provides visitors with Microsoft QuickStart tutorials and code from various third parties illustrating features of the .NET framework. You’ll find complete sample ASP.NET e-commerce and portal applications, along with Windows Forms applications. You can also download source code illustrating the use of XML, data access, Windows API functions, and Active Directory services from .NET.

One of the touted new features of .NET is Web Services. In its samples section, GotDotNet has a few examples of Web Services available for download that range from useful, like the MailSender and Thumbnail Generator services, to the somewhat whimsical, like a magic eight-ball service.

As previously mentioned, registered members can submit articles and sample applications to the site. The majority of this content is found in the User Contributions section. Included here are C#, ASP.NET, and VB.NET sample code that is categorized by developer skill level and the framework area or areas each sample covers. While you must have one of the controversial Microsoft Passports to submit content to the site, you don’t need one to download files from the site, so the bulk of GotDotNet’s content is essentially open to all visitors.

Resources galore
The site’s Resource Center organizes a wealth of third-party resources geared toward .NET developers. This section includes:

  • Information on upcoming .NET-related training and events.
  • A list of books covering .NET topics from selected publishers like Wrox.
  • Links to more information and white papers on Microsoft’s MSDN Web site.
  • A list of language and tool vendors that support or plan to support .NET.
  • Information on various .NET peer groups, discussion lists, and organizations.
  • Links to Web hosting services that offer or plan to offer support of the .NET framework to their customers.

Although the entire site is searchable, the search engine seems to return a lot of dubious matches, somewhat limiting its usefulness. Also, GotDotNet lacks forums of any kind, so questions that visitors may have must be answered in another fashion. These problems aside, GotDotNet does have a lot of useful information for developers interested in .NET, even if they just want to see the framework development team’s bios. We give it three out of five flags.