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Top stories of 2007: Silverlight and Visual Studio 2008

Not surprisingly, Silverlight and Visual Studio 2008 dominated the list of top stories for 2007. Here we look back at what we wrote and forward to what we might write in 2008.

Determining the top .NET development news stories of 2007 was neither laborious nor surprising. devoted significant attention to two topics in particular -- Visual Studio 2008 and Silverlight. You, dear readers, above all tended to check out stories about two topics -- Visual Studio 2008 and Silverlight.

Here, then, we present our top news stories of 2007 and offer our $0.02 on what may be in store for 2008.

Visual Studio 2008 arrives in…late 2007

Orcas became Visual Studio 2008 in June, during the keynote for what turned out to be a rather uneventful TechEd 2007. One month later, Visual Studio 2008 Beta 2 was released.

Now, with a name like Visual Studio 2008, some wondered if the product would, in fact, ship this year. Suspicion peaked, too, when shortly after TechEd the "marketing launch" of VS 2008, SQL Server 2008 and Windows Server 2008 was set for the end of February.

Microsoft repeatedly emphasized that 2008 was mere branding and that the new IDE would, in fact, ship this year. The company established a firmer timetable in early November, indicating that Visual Studio 2008 was coming by the end of November -- and, sure enough, VS 2008 and the .NET Framework were available on Nov. 19.

Meanwhile, as all this transpired, our two-part series introducing some (at the time of publication) VS Orcas new features remained rather popular. Ten cool Visual Studio 2008 features, part 1 looked at IDE improvements like multi-targeting and the inclusion of VSTO and ASP.NET AJAX, whereas Ten cool Visual Studio Orcas features, part 2 looked at language improvements in Visual Basic 2008 and LINQ.

So what can we expect for 2008? Well, the aforementioned launch event brouhaha is slated for the end of February, so news of interest -- customer case studies, third-party tools and the like -- should emerge then. Beyond that, we expect a lot of folks to try out Visual Studio 2008 and blog about their experiences.

Silverlight, burning bright

The term "Silverlight" entered the lexicon in April, when it replaced Windows Presentation Foundation/Everywhere, but really started turning heads at MIX07, when Microsoft announced that Silverlight 1.1 would support the .NET Framework and the CLR, as opposed to just JavaScript.

That announcement, and the demos that followed, had a lot of .NET developers clamoring for case studies. One emerged right at MIX07, where attendees saw Silverlight's shine in a video editing application from Metaliq, which developed the 50K, drag-and-drop app in a month using C#. A few months later, at ReMIX07 Boston, we learned about the Carbon Calculator, one of the Web's first Silverlight 1.1 applications. Further still, The Ajax Experience conference provided some insight into how Silverlight and Ajax compare.

As the snow began to fall, Microsoft, having determined that the .NET-powered Silverlight 1.1 differed quite dramatically from the JavaScript-based Silverlight 1.0, announced that Silverlight 1.1 would hereafter be called Silverlight 2.0. Moreover, v2.0 will reach beta this winter -- likely at MIX08 -- and will come with a Go-Live license.

With that kind of timetable, will developers see Silverlight 2.0 RTM in 2008? Given the warm welcome it has received thus far, Microsoft would probably be remiss in not getting Silverlight 2.0 out there -- and tying it to Visual Studio. As per usual, stay tuned.

Dig Deeper on .NET Framework 3.5 and Visual Studio 2008 development

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