With BuildIt, .Net-Based Apps Will Come

Sapient and Microsoft jointly develop BuildIt to automate oft-repeated actions required to create applications and Web services based on the .Net Framework.

Sapient Corp. and Microsoft Corp. have jointly developed a new tool that automates key steps necessary in building applications and Web services based on the .Net Framework.

The tool, known as BuildIt, automates many oft-repeated actions required to create applications, such as generating executables, and automates certain testing and application finishing procedures. Sapient did most of the design and coding of the product, while Microsoft "reviewed and challenged the assumption," said Ben Gaucherin, chief technology officer at Cambridge, Mass.-based Sapient.

The companies released BuildIt Thursday as a free tool on the Microsoft Developer Network (MSDN). BuildIt represents the kind of tool that Sapient, a consulting and integration concern, "would have to build to support our clients anyway," Gaucherin said. Sapient has created similar tools for Java, such as the MC4J tool, also known as Management Console for Java, which the company contributed to the open-source community.

However, Gaucherin said, the BuildIt tool is not much like any of the tools in Microsofts arsenal; it is similar to existing "build" tools like Make and Ant, which support Unix and Java development.

"This tool is provided in the context of evangelizing the .Net platform to developers, and its in the spirit of developing enterprise solutions," Gaucherin said.

The tool supports large-scale development, he said. It enables developers to "work as you would in an enterprise or working with a large group of developers," Gaucherin said. "Its a shift, noting that development projects are going to be more complex. Its the understanding that .Net is an enterprise play."

BuildIt jump-starts the build process for creating .Net-based distributed applications. And it provides source code for Microsoft Visual C# and Visual Basic .Net.

BuildIt can be downloaded here.

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