Visual Studio 2008, .Net Framework 3.5 to ship in November

New releases are first pieces of Microsoft’s software-as-a-service infrastructure

Microsoft Monday said Visual Studio 2008 would ship by the end of November, along with the .Net Framework 3.5.

The company made the announcement at its annual TechEd Developers Forum conference in Barcelona, Spain. Visual Studio is the cornerstone of Microsoft's development tools platform, and the .Net Framework is the heart of the company's managed code platform.

While Visual Studio 2008 will be available in the next 25 days, Microsoft is planning the software's ceremonial launch February 27, 2008 in Los Angeles along with Windows Server 2008 and SQL Server 2008.

Ironically, SQL Server 2008 won't be available that day as the database is expected to ship between April 1 and June 30, 2008. Windows Server 2008, which was again delayed in August, also might not be available at the February 27 event. Microsoft is officially saying the server will hit its "release to manufacturing" (RTM) milestone between January 1 and March 31, 2008. RTM means development of the software is complete and the bits are ready to be pressed onto distribution media.

Still Microsoft plans to use the day as a marketing event for the three products that it says form the back-end and development tool foundation of its services strategy.

CEO Steve Ballmer said in his keynote at this summer's Partner Conference that all three products are being "enhanced to help you build your own software plus service infrastructure."

At the Barcelona event, Microsoft also issued a preview of its Sync Framework that lets developers build online/offline support into applications, as well as peer-to-peer capabilities. The company also made available Popfly Explorer, which integrates with Visual Studio 2008 and Visual Web Developer Express 2008 so users can integrate gadgets into Web pages and publish HTML Web pages directly to Popfly, a Web site where users can create Web pages and program mashups.

In addition, Microsoft said at the show it is revamping licensing terms around Visual Studio 2008 to foster interoperability around other development tools. Microsoft also is adding a shared source licensing program for premier-level partners in the Visual Studio Industry Partner program, which will enable partners to view Visual Studio IDE source code for debugging purposes.

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