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This Just In: .NET Technologies Help News Sites Deliver on Deadline

This Just In: .NET Technologies Help News Sites Deliver on Deadline

(November 20, 2002) - On an average day, journalists at USATODAY.com serve up news to more than 800,000 readers, who churn through online content at the rate of 8 million page views daily. On a heavy news day, traffic can spike to double that level.

That's a lot of text, interactive features, graphics, audio, video, and live Webcasts to deliver. So when Microsoft .NET technologies offered USATODAY.com a way to shave an estimated 7,800 hours a year from their publishing process, it was important news. NYTimes.com also recently implemented .NET technologies, which capitalize on the connected world of XML Web services.

In the past, USATODAY.com had used a static HTML publishing model that required editors to not only publish new content but also to update and republish the section fronts, or lead-in categories, that link readers to full stories. Automating this process would let the editorial staff focus more on content and business value, and less on format.

Developers used Microsoft Visual Studio .NET and the .NET Framework to build a custom application called Automated Fronts. The application streamlines the business of Internet news and takes a first step toward a fully dynamic publishing model. ASP.NET made the development of Automated Fronts easy and quick, freeing developers to spend more time on additional application features. The use of ASP.NET also allowed USATODAY.com to introduce dynamic Web pages without having to make a sizable investment in its hosting infrastructure.

Meanwhile, COM interoperability simplified integration with USATODAY.com's legacy system and allowed the organization to proceed with the migration to .NET at its own pace.

Visual Studio .NET and the .NET Framework helped USATODAY.com realize business value by accelerating application development time. USATODAY.com estimates that it saved 25 to 30 percent in time to market because of .NET.

".NET ended up being a tremendous advantage to our developers," says Tim Tenpas, technical architect with Applied IS, a technical partner firm that assisted USATODAY.com in the development. "Fewer lines of code had to actually be written. By the time we were wrapping up our application, we were over two weeks ahead of schedule. With that extra time, we were able to expand the scope of functionality that we were working on and increase the amount of product that we were able to deliver."

New York Times Digital, which operates NYTimes.com, sought to help users respond more quickly to new real estate listings and, in turn, add value for the real estate brokers who advertise on the site. NYTimes.com recently launched a Real Estate Tracker solution, developed using Microsoft SQL Server 2000 Notification Services. The tracker alerts users whenever newly listed properties match the search criteria they've specified, such as location, number of bedrooms, and price range.

"The SQL Server 2000 Notification Services platform allowed us to quickly develop this application," says Jeff Moriarty, director of classifieds operations at New York Times Digital. "In a competitive real estate market like New York's, users need the latest listings as soon as they become available, and the Real Estate Tracker helps us meet that need."

Based on initial reactions to the notification service, the company anticipates an increase in listing response rates. In the first six months after the Real Estate Tracker's debut, NYTimes.com anticipates that it will process user subscriptions and new listing matches numbering in the tens of thousands, and send notifications numbering in the thousands.

Besides Microsoft SQL Server 2000 Notification Services, NYTimes.com relied on Microsoft Visual Studio .NET and the Microsoft .NET Framework to develop its solution.

More Stories By .NETDJ News Desk

.NETDJ News Desk monitors Microsoft .NET and its related technologies, including Silverlight, to present IT professionals with news, updates on technology advances, business trends, new products and standards, and insight.

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