ISV's rev up for .NET
since Microsoft announced its Hailstorm and .NET initiatives,
the developer community in India has been quite enthusiastic
and eager to roll out applications for this platform.
Already several ISVs have demonstrated proof-of-concept
applications and services to show their state of readiness
final specifications for Microsoft's .NET platform have
not yet been released, but already several Independent
Software Vendors (ISVs) in India are showing proof-of-concept
applications (prototypes) and beta versions of products/Web
services for the .NET platform. Six local ISVs have already
demonstrated applications/services at the launch of Hailstorm
in India, in May 2001. Microsoft has acknowledged this
talent and enthusiasm by investing an additional $75 mn
(approx Rs 370 crore) into its India Development Center
at Hyderabad. Much of this investment will go towards
than 100 Indian companies have shown interest in .NET
and are currently at some stage of development work for
this platform," says Daniel Ingitaraj, Marketing
Manager-.NET Servers & Developer Tools, Microsoft
India. "Developer interest has grown tremendously
since we first partnered with six big local firms, and
we expect more companies to join in over the coming weeks
Earlier this year Microsoft partnered with TCS, Mastek,
Wipro, Infosys, Satyam, and NIIT. But that list has grown
to include Aditi Technologies, Financial Technologies,
Vortex Technologies, i-Flex Solutions, Plexus Technologies,
Aztec and others.
recently partnered with some more companies to represent
India in a worldwide .NET partnership programme dubbed
First Wave," informs Ingitaraj. "We don't have
any selection criteria for partners, but strongly consider
things like domain knowledge, existing technology base,
and overall understanding of and commitment to .NET."
The First Wave programme includes 70 companies from various
countries, and has been created to help ISVs and customers
develop solutions using Visual Studio.NET (VS.NET), the
next version of Microsoft's developer suite.
Microsoft has worked with more than 200 companies, 20
universities and dozens of individuals reviewing and improving
the .NET Framework architecture. Currently, over eight
million individual developers are building business applications
The .NET framework (the infrastructure for the overall
.NET platform) is still in beta stage with the final specification
expected in December this year. In fact, VS.NET is also
in beta. In the meantime, ISVs have developed proof-of-concept
applications (prototypes), or beta software with the final
versions expected to ship sometime next year.
Local ISVs are very excited about .NET and are eagerly
awaiting the final versions of .NET and VS.NET. Here's
what one ISV had to say: "We started working on .NET
from February 2001 and immediately recognized a great
technology that can simplify information retrieval for
end users--this is possible because of Web services,"
says Satya VVV, CEO, Vortex Technologies. "We decided
to focus on the .NET platform after we realised that the
features of this framework will ultimately result in lower
cost and ease of use (of applications/services). We were
able to complete our .NET projects because of coherent
support from Microsoft India."
The buzz of .NET worker bees can also be heard at the
Microsoft India Development Center in Hyderabad, which
is doing something different. Microsoft has outsourced
some development work to its team in Hyderabad, which
is mainly involved in facilitating interoperability between
Windows and other OS platforms (like Unix).
Besides development at Hyderabad, there are many ISV's
around the country who have already developed applications
or are currently working on .NET projects.
Here is an update on some key projects that puts India
firmly on the map of .NET developers.
With three major products already on the .NET platform,
TCS is serious considering additional projects, especially
for international clients. It has already developed MasterCraft.Net,
Web services based on Quartz, and Web services using Consult.
MasterCraft.Net (TCS' product for the developer community),
is a component development framework to build enterprise-class
distributed applications. TCS says this product can reduce
cost of development, bring about dramatic improvements
in productivity. Features include open integration, technology
proofing and use of proven design patterns. MasterCraft
supports a repository-driven, role-based development process
and includes a modeling tool that supports UML, a GUI
modeler for Rapid Application Development, a model aware
object-oriented specification language for server-side
programming, and a rule-base engine to customize business
MasterCraft.Net will support generation of COM+ components
in C# and C++, Data Manager layer in ADO.Net and ODBC,
GUI generation using Winform (VB.Net) and Webform (ASP.Net)
future releases, MasterCraft will provide plug and play
generation and assembly of applications using Web services,"
says R Ramanan, VP-Global Microsoft Relationship Manager,
TCS. "The current UML modeling framework will be
enhanced to support Business Process Modeling (BPM). A
model based generative mechanism will be provided to generate
XLANG schedules interpreted by Microsoft BizTalk Server."
Web services based on Quartz is a core banking solution,
which has already been implemented at various institutions
worldwide. TCS says it is developing various XML Web services
over Quartz using .NET technology. Thus, the Quartz functionality
can be used through any front-end, whether it is .NET,
Java/JSP, Client-Server etc.
TCS is also developing a .NET front-end to enable one
to use a Quartz Web service to transfer funds to an account
via his/her WAP phone, desktop browser or even a PDA.
Web services using Consult (TCS' intelligent information
retrieval product) provides information search/retrieval
using 'inexact' techniques. Consult does not need exact
inputs of required information but tolerates noise, misspelling,
synonyms, acronyms, abbreviations and approximate quantitative
TCS is building Consult-based XML Web services for a variety
of verticals such as banking and insurance. These Web
services will help sharing information between business
TCS is also involved with .NET development of applications/services
for its clients.
For the Indian portal WebHealthCentre.com, it has developed
Passport services (a first for any Indian portal). Initially,
Online Doctor's Appointments, Online Health Directory
and Online Lab Reports are some of the XML Web services
being offered. In addition, TCS also has integrated its
Hospital Management System (HMS) in the backend for the
lab reports service. This service is loosely coupled-which
means it can use data from both labs associated with hospitals
using HMS and also from labs which have no HMS. The On-line
Health Directory Service can be accessed via a Mobile
or PDA to locate nearest doctors, blood banks etc.
TCS is also developing an Automotive Emission System (AES)
for a leading company in the US. This is a B2B service
over the Web for automobile companies that use emission
control systems in their automobiles. AES will provide
OEMs (like Ford Motors) and Canners (like Visteon) the
capability to run various scenarios, place and track orders
for AES samples on the company's website. The solution
is built over Commerce Server 2000 and BizTalk Server
2000. The Web services are built using SOAP and XML.
Online Solo Front-end (in Norway): OSFE is the main channel
application for receiving orders for a leading telecom
company in Scandinavia. OSFE has Dealers Portal, OSFE
User Services and OSFE Business Services to communicate
with middleware. These Web services are built using ASP.Net,
SOAP and XML. Similarly, the related components are developed
Mastek has developed beta versions of two applications:
Mastek-Billing.NET and eGoldmine. The former is a billing
product designed to handle the complexities and variations
of ASP and ISP billing. According to Mastek, Billing.NET
is available in the form of Web services, enables flexible
data transfers and allows end users to integrate their
interfaces with other Web services.
eGoldmine is a sales and distribution management system
that integrates information from warehouses, factories,
and sales in the areas of stock, sales orders dispatch
& invoicing, and collections & receivables.
Samar Gupta, a consultant from the technical cell group
at Mastek says these products are in Beta 2 and Beta 1
respectively and final versions will roll out once the
final specifications of .NET are available. "Meanwhile,
Mastek is perfecting both products and also developing
prototype applications for international clients,"
Developers at Infosys' .NET Centre of Excellence (COE)
have developed two proof-of-concept applications for the
Retailing and Financial service industries. These are
the Order processing and Product Recall application and
the Straight Through Processing product.
The Order processing and Product Recall application leverages
Web services, mobile devices and seamless multi-channel
integration. It showcases the benefits of data synchronization,
automation of key business processes and perishable foods
retail value chain integration in driving business efficiencies
and customer satisfaction.
The Straight Through Processing application has been built
as a part of the solution for securities trading using
the .NET Framework, XML Web services, Windows Service
and Windows Applications. The automation of Securities
Trading (also known as Straight Through Processing) is
showcased with the .NET technology.
application implements some stages in Straight Through
Processing (STP), which is a step forward to reduce the
settlement period from current T+3 to T+1. The STP process
comprises of client (Investment Manager and Broker) interaction
with back office (Stock Exchange)," says Subu Goparaju,
Head-SETLabs and Associate VP, Infosys Technologies.
NIIT has developed the AskAnExpert Web Service, which
is designed to provide Helpdesk functionality to multiple
sites on various topics. When used by subscriber websites
or corporate networks, AskAnExpert allows users to post
queries on the subscriber sites. The queries are routed
to the concerned personnel based on the topic/subject
of the query, availability, expertise level, workload
of the helpdesk personnel and the subscription model of
the Web service. Mail notification goes to the user when
his query is answered.
NIIT is currently working on eProcurement.Net. It enables
organizations to set up private or public marketplaces
for MRO (maintenance, repair and operations) items to
address enterprise-wide purchasing needs of their users.
It supports catalogue and non-catalogue based buying,
workflow for approvals, tax calculations, dynamic pricing,
and multi-level organizational hierarchy for both buyers
and suppliers. It uses XML, SOAP, Commerce Server 2000,
BizTalk Server 2000 and Hailstorm Web services to achieve
conceptualization for AskAnExpert happened in March and
this product was launched in June," informs Harita
Gupta, Divisional Head, E-com Centre of Competence, NIIT.
"This product was showcased during the Hailstorm
preview event held at Bangalore in April this year. The
development of eProcurement.Net is in the last phase and
we hope to launch this product in October 2001. We are
working on some Web Services Solutions and Frameworks
for Financial Services, Insurance, Banking, Retail and
Transport verticals. These Web Services are in various
phases of implementation and will be available by December."
FT says its NeT.net Internet trading engine has been deployed
in over 80 percent of the top Indian e-Broking portals.
The Engine has been re-architected for the .NET platform
using Visual Studio.Net Beta 2. The product extensively
uses XML and Web services to fetch and render data at
the browser front-end.
i-Flex has developed a Web-based service named ComEX as
proof-of-concept application for Commodity Exchanges.
i-Flex says ComEX will enable buyers and sellers of commodities
to transact online in a highly secure, scalable and available
environment using the .Net platform. Using the solution
and the platform, i-Flex can assist existing exchanges
to create or extend services for commodity exchange.
The two main functional aspects of the solution are Online
Tendering and Online Order Matching. In Online Tendering,
registered traders place requests to buy/sell a commodity
and the system accepts bids from other traders against
that request. When a request expires, the bids received
are processed either manually by the initiator of the
request or by the Winner Robot, to create orders. Bidders
can use the services of a 'Bid-automation Robot' to automatically
improve their bids when other traders place counter bids.
In Online Order Matching, registered traders place orders
to buy/sell a commodity. The orders placed are processed
by the system to match the orders and create deals.
are actively working with some of our existing clients
to plan and migrate their existing applications, as well
as new applications to Microsoft's .NET platform,"
says Vikram Gupta, Head-E-Solutions, i-Flex solutions.
The Bangalore-based Aditi Technologies is working on the
beta version of an application code-named PowerPortal.net.
PowerPortal suite is for enterprises who are looking to
rapidly set up a portal comprising B2B commerce, information
exchange, and content management capabilities," says
Rajesh Thachil, Head I.S. & Microsoft Practice. "The
functionality offered by PowerPortal is not specific to
any specific vertical. However it would add value to mid-size
enterprises that either do a lot of B2B trading with suppliers
(manufacturing) or are information-oriented (news agencies,
financial information services etc)."
The application comprises three modules that offer related
sets of functionality. The PowerCommerce module is built
on the Commerce Server 2000 platform and allows firms
to rapidly configure their application into B2C, B2B Private
or Global exchanges using prebuilt frameworks. The PowerDocuments
module is built on the Microsoft Sharepoint Portal Server
and provides features for sharing documents across the
enterprise. The InfoExchange module is built using the
BizTalk Server platform and allows real-time, XML-based
exchange of all kinds of organizational information.
The final version of PowerPortal is expected by December
Aditi has also developed Collaborative Solutions using
Exchange Server 2000 and an Internal Document Management
application for the Aditi Intranet.
Technologies has worked with Microsoft to develop the
first internally deployed application using Exchange 2000
and the Web Store. Aditi also created a collaborative
application on the same platform for CDS Consulting Services
in Japan," informs Thachil.
The Internal Document Management application uses SharePoint
Portal Server from the .NET family of products. The application
provides advanced functionality for information sharing,
document routing/workflow and powerful search capabilities
to locate the right documents.
The Hyderabad-based Vortex Technologies has completed
two products namely SofTrack.Net and PowerTrack.Net. The
former is a software project management tool, which focuses
on software metrics and measurements to successfully manage
the project. The key feature of SofTrack is metrics and
measurements, which is a neglected area in many organizations.
"CMM level 4 requires objective measurement of processes,
but unfortunately, many software organizations use man
hours for process measurement," says Satya VVV, CEO
SofTrack.Net facilitates interactive planning among team
members. It gives every process owner the freedom to plan
on his own, within his process. SofTrack also brings in
the management expertise required to manage component-based
enterprise applications that are different from traditional
business applications in many ways. Traditional top down
organizational structures and linear, step-by-step development
strategies were well suited to monolithic, self-contained,
stand-alone systems. In contrast, the distributed nature
of component-based systems lends itself better to the
model of small cooperative self empowered teams and a
more cyclical iterative development process.
Vortex's other application, PowerTrack.NET will be offered
as an end-user service in the ASP model. Here the end
users are from the construction industry and they may
not have the necessary infrastructure/technical expertise
to maintain the necessary hardware and software to effectively
use the application.
haven't undertaken any external projects yet but will
pursue the same once the final release of Visual Studio
.NET is available," says Satya.
Although Wipro hasn't developed any products on the .NET
platform, it claims to be among the first in Asia to have
built user-centric XML-based Web services for Microsoft's
Wipro is currently developing proof-of-concept applications/services
for wholesale banking; for a travel portal; collaboration
& conferencing; dealer-distributor integration solutions;
an employee self-service portal.
proof-of-concepts are expected by the end of October,"
informs Monish Mishra, Business Development Manager, Wipro
Infotech. "Besides this we are in the proposal stage
for three or four projects concerned with the.NET framework--primarily
Web services and Biztalk-based projects."
Satyam Computer Services
Satyam has developed Health Online, a healthcare solution
that enables physicians to discharge their daily chores
efficiently, thereby saving time and effort spent on the
administrative aspects of healthcare. Health Online is
a Web-based solution that lets a physician access all
the information and resources required to treat a patient.
Third party applications from hospitals, test labs, and
health insurance providers, that are distributed across
the Internet, are seamlessly integrated using Hailstorm
and Web services technology,
Plexus conducted a proof of concept project for ClickForSteel.com,
wherein it ported the existing solution (in ASP and ActiveX)
to the .NET platform. The project had two aspects-front-end
and back-end. The front-end was implemented using ASPX
scripting and encapsulated all the rendering logistics.
The back-end was implemented using Web services.
Plexus is currently pursuing projects for the Government
of Maharashtra and Godrej Sara Lee. Both projects are
in the proposal stage.
The former project calls for the creation of a government
website containing general information, and specific guidelines
for all sub-departments to follow. Plexus plans to build
guidelines across the site by allowing the departments
to create and share Web services from individual deployments.
For Godrej Sara Lee, the project requires the implementation
of an intranet environment for internal users and external
entities to access information. Plexus plans to build
this intranet using .NET technologies.
India Development Center