||I have gotten a number of people (both through 4GuysFromRolla.com and through the classes I teach on ASP.NET) who have asked, "How much will ASP.NET (that is, the .NET Framework) cost once it is officially released?" Currently (as of December 29th 2001, the time of this writing), ASP.NET is in Beta 2. All of the Beta versions of the .NET Framework have been 100% free. The good news?|
The official .NET Framework version will also be 100% free.
Well, 100% free if you already are using Windows. The .NET Framework is similar to other low-level APIs and frameworks Microsoft has worked on, such as the Win32 API. You pay nothing to use the Win32 API (a set of libraries and functions to perform low-level OS operations that Visual C++/VisualBasic developers often use when developing Windows applications); it comes preinstalled with Windows. Similarly, with ASP.NET you will simply need to own a copy of Windows, that's it. Promise.
One thing to note, though, is that Microsoft has been giving away copies of the Visual Studio .NET beta to MSDN Universal subscribers, conference attendees, etc. Note that Visual Studio .NET will not be free! In fact, you will have to pay a pretty penny to use the "official" versions of Visual Studio .NET, ranging from $1,000 to $1,800, depending on what version you opt for.
Realize that you can create ASP.NET Web pages, Web services, etc. without Visual Studio .NET. Like with classic ASP, any text editor will do the trick (I commonly use Notepad myself). So, to summarize: ASP.NET (the .NET Framework) will be 100% free; Visual Studio .NET, which is a really jazzy editor and development environment, will cost a good chunk of change, but is not required for creating ASP.NET Web sites.