Welcome to Visual C# .NET 2003
Today, people are living in a busy time. Gone are the days when it took two to three weeks to get a decision on a credit application for a car. We live in a time where we need what we want, and we want what we need, right now.
Wanting information right now is a common theme in today's environment. Having it right now is today's challenge. Whether it's while driving in the car, flying in an airplane, working, or while watching television at home, we all want it now. To solve this dilemma, IBM introduced the world to personal computers. For a time this was great, but personal computers were too expensive for the average person to have at home, so other companies introduced the portable computer. Don't let the term portable confuse you, this computer was everything but portable. The portable computer eventually became small enough to actually carry around and everything seemed right with the world, at least for a time. However, as time passed, so did the fad of starting up your laptop to find the phone number or address of the person you were trying to contact. So, along came mobile devices. With time, mobile devices such as personal digital assistants (PDAs), cellular phones, and cellular phones that thought they were PDAs became more advanced and brought us to the brink of having everything that we wanted at our fingertips…but not quite.
The great thing about the world is that everyone has his own ideas. Some ideas are great, and some…well, some are not so great. The problem with this is that most people have a bias toward their own ideas and think that their way is the right way. This causes companies to develop technologies to handle tasks in their own image and makes communication between similar devices, made by different manufacturers, difficult if not impossible. Imagine this: You are tasked with gathering stock prices from different vendors of stock quotes. One source requires that you query its database with a proprietary protocol. Another has a file that is reproduced every minute and requires you to download it and parse the file for all the information that is needed. And finally, the third source does not have a published interface and therefore requires that you perform screen scraping to produce the information required. Without the presence of a standard method of accessing the information, retrieving the required data is, at the very least, complicated.