It's official: Visual Studio 2008 launching this year

Visual Studio 2008 and the .NET Framework 3.5 will be released by the end of November, Microsoft announced at the TechEd Developers conference. New licensing models are coming too.

It's official: Visual Studio 2008 and the .NET Framework 3.5 will be released by the end of November, Microsoft said at the TechEd Developers conference in Barcelona. This confirms what the company said earlier this year at the stateside TechEd 2007 in Orlando.

While Visual Studio 2008 will ship at the end of the month, it is still slated to be part of the "marketing launch" at the end of February, 2008, along with Windows Server 2008 and SQL Server 2008, Soma Somasegar, corporate vice president in Microsoft's Developer Division, clarified in this blog entry.

Somasegar made several other announcements in Barcelona.

Two notable bits of news deal with Visual Studio 2008 licensing.

One, solutions built with the Visual Studio SDK (Software Development Kit) are no longer limited to Windows or other Microsoft platforms.

This change was prompted largely by feedback from Microsoft partners who had built custom development environment but who, from customer feedback of their own, wanted an IDE that mirrored Visual Studio. "It would have been possibly technologically, but there was an SDK limitation," Shawn Nandi, of Microsoft's Visual Studio Industry Partners program, or VSIP program, said in a meeting with SearchVB.com at DevConnections 2007 in Las Vegas.

The SDK licensing change lets Microsoft partners, particularly those who develop embedded operating systems, focus less on IDE maintenance and more on core competency products, noted John E. Case, general manager of development and UX platforms and tools. The new license also paves the way for third-party development on the platform-agnostic Silverlight framework, he added.

More on Visual Studio 2008
Reference: Visual Studio 2008 Learning Guide

Tip: Ten cool VS 2008 features, Part 1

Tip: Ten cool VS 2008 features, Part 2

Tip: More Visual Studio 2008 goodies show up 

The second bit of licensing news concerns Premier-level VSIP partners. Through a new shared-source licensing program, these partners can view Visual Studio 2008 source code for debugging purposes and see how their VS extensions are interacting with Visual Studio itself, Nandi noted.

This news comes one month after Microsoft announced it would release the source code for the .NET Framework 3.5 libraries. This includes base class libraries, ASP.NET, WinForms, WPF, WCF, WF and LINQ, among other things. All this code should be available either the day that Visual Studio 2008 is released or shortly thereafter, said Scott Guthrie, general manager of the .NET developer platform.

For Dave Mendlen, director of developer tools marketing at Microsoft, the source code releases represent the latest steps in the company's efforts to boost transparency, efforts that also include engineers who blog and frequent Community Technical Preview (CTP) product releases. "Hopefully you see Microsoft in a different light," he said.

Two other bits of news came from the TechEd Developers show.

  • First, Microsoft announced a CTP version of the Sync Framework, which focuses on peer collaboration and allows for offline synchronization and data access. "[This] builds on the synchronization functionality available in Visual Studio 20008 so that developers can easily synchronize information using any protocol, any data type, and any data store," the company said in a statement.

  • Second, the company is now offering a download called Popfly Explorer, which provides those who use Visual Studio 2008 and Visual Web Developer Express 2008 access to Silverlight gadgets built using Popfly. (Popfly, now in beta, is a mash-up building tool built atop Silverlight and aimed primarily at non-professional developers. )

    Mendlen said this was an important release for Visual Web Developer Express because, until now, this free Web application development tool had no tie-in with Popfly.

  • Dig deeper on .NET Framework 3.5 and Visual Studio 2008 development

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