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Microsoft release .net framework v3

At its VSConnections conference this week, Microsoft Corp (NASDAQ: MSFT - news) is taking the wraps off the next version of the .NET framework, version 3.0, which is being released to developers through MSDN this week.

But the release is kind of anticlimactic because it doesnt really add new features to the core .NET framework itself. Instead, .NET 3.0 represents an updating for the WinFX

Not surprisingly, the new version of the framework was characterized as a superset of .NET 2.0 by Microsofts Jay Roxe, who is group product manager for the developer division. Although the added features of .NET 3.0 apply to the XP platform, the framework itself will be available to developers whose .NET-compliant tools obviously now run on XP.

As you might recall, WinFX is the programming framework underlying Vista, which ties presentation, communications, and workflow into the same programming engine. For instance, just as Adobe is doing with Flash and Flex, Microsoft intends to make it easier for developers to flesh out the programmatic aspects of user interfaces generated by web designers without having to rewrite the GUI.

So .NET 3.0 extends support to WPF, otherwise known as the Windows Presentation Framework, which contains the elements of Vistas new Aero look and feel. For starters, that means that .NET 3.0 will add support of DirectX 10.0 multimedia driver. That means that .NET 3.0-compliant tools can be applied to building applications that include the latest Microsoft graphic goodies.

.NET 3.0 also includes support for WWF, a.k.a., Windows Workflow Foundation, which will provide the engine for building manual or automated workflows with Office 12, SharePoint, and eventually, BizTalk process server (when it reaches its next product refresh).

Other pieces of Vista supported by .NET 3.0 include the new People Near Me collaboration feature, for opening virtual workspaces with colleagues, and the new desktop search feature, which s Microsofts answer to Google Desktop. In a new twist, Microsoft is enabling its new search feature to scour data from proprietary file formats, such as those specified by developers.

Finally, .NET 3.0 also provides support for Vistas new security and reliability features such as the new cryptography APIs, meaning developers don't have to burn as many cycles writing custom security features that are now provided by the OS.

And it also means they can take advantage of Vista features like Windows Error Reporting which, like Search, can be extended to track problems with custom programs if you buy the service from Microsoft. Actually, Error Reporting should look familiar to any user of XP. Its the dialog box that appears when a program crashes, where you give Windows the permission to send crash data back to Microsoft which, in turn, provides the accumulated artifacts back to that ISVs that pay for the reporting service.

.NET 3.0 is not exactly an earth-shaking release in that Microsoft had already gone on record promising that .NET would eventually support for WVistas WinFX programming models and frameworks. So the only mystery wasn't what Microsoft would release, but when. And even that wasn't exactly a big surprise given that Microsofts recent promises that it Vista would go GA (general availability) by year end, with consumer versions to follow in early 2007.

One other anticlimactic tidbit is that Microsoft is also announcing this week that Vista would release to developers shortly before the GA of the business version. That means that, with .NET 3.0 now in the hands of developers, they could get used to it and then, in the next two to four weeks, get their full grubby hands on an advance copy of Vista as well.


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