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/n Software: .NET components galore and deluxe

Ed Tittel introduces us to /n Software, which offers a plethora of Internet protocol components and Internet business integration tools.

Those who read my columns regularly know I'm a bit of a tools junkie, so I'm always glad to write about companies that deliver particularly good stuff in this area. Same goes for .NET components, which often bridge interesting gaps between "code to use for building more code" (which is another way of saying tool) versus "code for code's sake" (as in libraries, snippets, widgets, and other source code licensing mechanisms). In this tip, I'd like to shine my spotlight on a long-time .NET components purveyor -- namely /n software -- which has been selling .NET components pretty much as long as .NET has been a going concern. In fact, the company also offers equally great components or source code for Java/J2EE, Unix/Linux, Borland VCL, and Macintosh OS X environments as well.

The company specializes in two set of different technology, one of which they call Internet protocols; the other, Internet business. The company is perhaps best well-known for its various IP*Works! offerings, which includes a broad spectrum of components for Internet developers.

  • Internet protocols, which includes components for FTP, HTTP, SMTP, POP, IMAP, SNMP, LDAP, DNS, RSS, SMS, Jabber, SOAP, WebDAV, RAS, XML and bunches more. This is a case where the claim "a comprehensive suite of tools covering all major Internet technologies" has formidable substance behind it.
  • In most cases, components are in their third (or a higher-numered) generation. They're fast, compact, reliable and don't consume excessive resources.
  • Components are constructed to be self-contained and lightweight, without requiring access to external libraries.
  • The entire collection of IP protocols and services operate within a single consistent UI and developer framework, which works as a natural extension of the Visual Studio environment.
  • The documentation is as voluminous and thorough as any developer product I've ever seen or played with. By itself, it's more than enough to handle routine programming tasks and needs. Even so, free e-mail support is not just available, but accurate, reasonably quic, and courteous, too.
  • Multiple editions are available include V6.NET (native, 100% C# codebase), ASP.NET (same codebase, but optimized for server side developers), Active X/VB (Active X controls optimized for distributed Internet apps) and C++ (classes packaged in a 32-bit Windows DLL), plus Delphi, Borland C++ Builder, Java Desktop, JavaBeans, .NET Compact Framework and Unix versions as well.

    In addition to the core IP*Works product set, special products to support SSL, S/MIME, S/Shell, Zip, EDI/AS2, and SNMP are also available. On the Internet business (IBiz) side, you'll find integration tools available for QuickBooks, e-payment, VitalPS, Paymentech, USPS, OFX, and PayPal ready to help interested developers work with or collect money online. All in all it's a well-designed and –built family of offerings, with prices that seldom exceed $450 per seat for base functionality, and up to $1,000 for more specialized IBiz offerings. Definitely worth checking out and playing with; free full-featured 30-day eval versions for all products are available for download.

    Ed Tittel is a writer and trainer whose interests include XML and development topics, along with IT Certification and information security. E-mail with comments, questions, or suggested topics or tools to review. Cool tools rule!
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