Appendix A. Programming the Directory with the .NET Framework

Why bother learning about the .NET Framework? After all, many AD administrators have been scripting happily for years with VBScript, PowerShell, ADSI, WMI, and a pile of command-line tools. We have been getting along just fine. This .NET stuff is really for the enterprise developers writing line-of-business applications, is it not?

First, let’s be clear that .NET may not be for everyone. There are many techniques available for programming the directory, and you may not need to move away from the tools and techniques you already use. However, there are some compelling reasons to consider it:

  • Powerful features that were once only available to C++ developers are now being exposed in the .NET Framework. This makes it easier for the vast majority of us who do not program in C++ to get to these features.

  • Microsoft has a powerful web development platform called ASP.NET that vastly improves how we can build applications for the Web. Many AD development tasks lend themselves to web-based deployment.

  • Microsoft’s 2008, hardly new! PowerShell command shell, based on the .NET Framework, completely changes the equation for how shell programmers and scripters can program and administer Windows.

A.1. Choosing a .NET Programming Language

.NET is a programming environment that can be accessed from many different languages. In fact, the runtime environment for .NET (or “managed”) code is called the Common Language Runtime, or CLR. The runtime ...

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