Diving into .NET
I recently watched most of a dotnetConf, a virtual conference on .NET hosted by Microsoft. All the sessions were recorded and there's a lot of good and relevant content.
I was programming Win32 apps in Delphi while listening and I felt myself yearning for the cool technologies they were discussing. Yeah, Delphi has grown up a bit, but it's no longer the leader, it's following and getting further and further behind the rest of the development community.
Several of the sessions concentrated on ASP.NET and one in particular caught my eye because it's a framework that makes it easy to build not just web sites, but web apps that dynamically resize for a variety of form factors with cool techniques like shrinking a list of menu items down into a "hamburger" icon. The name implies it's an extension to ASP.NET itself: ASP.NET Web API.
ASP.NET has much better and easier support for encrypting web pages (which you SHOULD DO for any login or data-centric site).
Testing and deploying ASP.NET web sites has been made much easier than in "the old days." Not only are the tools simpler, but Microsoft provides built-in connections for Azure, not surprisingly. But if you want to make sure your site will work on a remote domain name without actually deploying to a remote site, there's a nifty domain name called, localtest.me, that anyone can use. Read about it--it's genius!
Finally, I learned about another Microsoft resource, Microsoft Virtual Academy. There are many free courses to help get you started in many different subject areas--progrmaming Windows phones, SQL Server, business strategies, HTML5, licensing, virtualization, and many more.
These will be great sites that I visit often as I get more and more into .NET for my own enjoyment and education. I'm using the RemObjects suite of .NET tools which is a great way to shift my Delphi experience to a more popular development environment. Plus, with Hydra, I can blend the two technologies into one application and slowly swap out modules until I've completely migrated the application. I don't know if I'll ever need to completely replace Delphi as I'll more likely build something in ASP.NET using DataAbstract with RemObject's Relativity Server hooked to my ElevateDB database. But at least I can connect to complicated APIs like Amazon Web Services from a Delphi application right now! That's something I simply could not do before.