Microsoft's .Net Framework 3.0, featuring the company's latest innovations in Web services, presentation and workflow, is now available to developers, the company said on Monday.
The availability of the new developer framework will be a highlight of the evening keynote presentation Monday night at the Visual Studio Connections conference. Formerly known as WinFX, .Net Framework 3.0 features: the Windows Presentation Foundation presentation subsystem, formerly known as "Avalon"; the Windows Communication Foundation platform for Web services, which had been known as "Indigo", the Windows Workflow Foundation and Windows CardSpace, for identity management.
"From a Windows developer perspective, this is probably the most exciting time to be a Windows developer since Windows 95 launched," said Scott Guthrie, general manager of the Microsoft Developer Division.
Officially, .Net Framework 3.0 has reached the released-to-manufacturing stage. Downloadable here, .Net Framework 3.0 will be part of the Windows Vista OS, due to businesses later this year and to consumers early in 2007. Microsoft's Jay Roxe touted what he described as three pillars of Vista and the .Net developer story: building better user experiences, building better connected systems and having a more secure and reliable platform.
Building better user experiences, for example, is "about much more than just having a pretty user interface that looks like it was designed in 2006 instead of 1996," Roxe said. A better user interface provided by Vista makes it easier to offer better data visualization and helps users be more productive, he said.
Windows Communication Foundation, for its part, enables development of secure SOA, said Roxe said.
Microsoft is making available Visual Studio 2005 extensions for the .Net Framework 3.0, featuring plug-ins and templates to enable developers to leverage Visual Studio 2005 to build .Net Framework 3.0 applications.
Microsoft also said on Monday that it is releasing Beta 2 of its ASP.Net AJAX Extensions and the Microsoft AJAX Library, collectively known as ASP.Net AJAX and formerly codenamed "Atlas."
"ASP.Net AJAX in simple terms is a technology for building rich, expressive, interactive applications on the Web, AJAX-enabling Web sites in simple terms," said Brian Goldfarb, group product manager for Microsoft .Net. The second beta, accessible here, features bug fixes and an updated progress bar control. The final version of Microsoft's AJAX technology is set for the end of 2006.
A user of the technology said it helped his company, Burton Snowboards, implement a Web site that has boosted sales. "We were able to easily create some of the functionality that users were demanding," such as easier access to video and photography and reduce navigation time, said Ben Noonan, Internet project and development manager at Burton.
In other developments announced on Monday:
* Microsoft is releasing to manufacturing Visual Studio 2005 Tools for Office for the 2007 Microsoft Office System. Developers can build applications around the six major Office applications: Word, Excel, Outlook, PowerPoint, Visio and InfoPath. Microsoft confirmed on Monday that it has released Office 2007 to manufacturing, with downloads available on December 1.
* The company issued a release candidate for Microsoft SQL Server 2005 Compact Edition, an embeddable database with a 2-MB footprint. The release candidate is available here.