News hit the wire earlier this month that the new official release date for Windows Vista is now Jan. 30, 2007(desktop versions only, for this time frame; server versions to follow much later in 2007). Besides the possible impact on the holiday buying season and the best-laid plans of system vendors and integrators, developers have a stake in this artful dodging as well. There are four new components related to .NET Framework 3.0 already available for download just one click away from the Visual Studio home page.
Microsoft .NET Framework 3.0 Redistributable Package: This "new managed code programming model" for Windows adds support for application building technologies for a more visually compelling user experience (Windows Presentation Foundation), improved communication across technology boundaries (Windows Communication foundation) and the ability to support all kinds of business processes and workflows (Windows Workflow Foundation and Windows CardSpace). Also, .NET Framework 3.0 is included with Windows Vista, and may be installed or uninstalled using its Windows Features Control panel; the redistributable package in the link above targets Windows XP and Windows Server 2003 versions.
Visual Studio 2005 Extensions for .NET Framework 3.0 (Windows Workflow Foundation): This provides support for workflow-enabled applications using the Windows Workflow Foundation, or WF. It also requires the final released version of the WF Runtime Components, Microsoft Windows Vista (which includes these things), or the .NET Framework 3.0 Runtime Components (part of the preceding package, in fact). For more information, visit the WF home page on MSDN.
Visual Studio 2005 Extensions for .NET Framework 3.0 (WCF & WPF), November 6 CTP: This offers developers the tools they need to construct applications around .NET Framework 3.0 using the currently released version of Visual Studio 2005, and are meant to provide an early look at technology targeted for the upcoming Orcas release of Visual Studio. As preview technology, it's not supported, but it should give developers an opportunity to explore what the new framework has to offer, or to give early adopters the necessary leg up on implementation.
Windows SDK for Windows Vista (and .NET Framework 3.0 Runtime components): This is a typical MS Windows SDK that includes documentation, tools, and sample applications that illustrate and support Win32 and .NET Framework 3.0 technologies for Windows Vista. This is a giant honking download -- it maxes out at over 1 GB in size, compared to just 7 MB or less for the other items in this list.
It's so early in the game that I've not yet had time to dig into this stuff, but those who are building for Vista, or who want to look forward to the next generation of Windows development tools, are strongly urged to grab, inspect and play, if they haven't done so already. And it's just in time for the holidays!
Ed Tittel is a writer and trainer whose interests include XML and development topics, along with IT Certification and information security. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org with comments, questions, or suggested topics or tools to review. Cool tools rule!