You've heard the names, Windows Communication Foundation, Windows Presentation Foundation, Windows Workflow, and Windows CardSpace. These have been in community technical previews and betas for what seems like a very long time. As of Monday, these are no longer betas, but are released as a part of the .NET Framework 3.0.
WPF provides a unified framework for building user interfaces, documents, and media content. WCF unifies communications, thus making it easier to build service oriented applications, CardSpace provides a secure way of using a federated identity.
Previously known as WinFX, the release of .NET Framework 3.0 is considered by some to be more of an extension to the prior 2.0 version. As such, your 2.0 applications shouldn't have any problems with 3.0.
The new Framework will be downloadable for your XP SP2 machines. With Microsoft Windows Vista, the .NET Framework 3.0 will be included.
Although the Framework has released, new tools are still in the works. In most cases, you can tap into all these new features with your current version of Visual Studio 2005. You'll need to download extensions for the framework. At this point in time, these extensions are not fully released; however, the WorkFlow extensions are fully supported. For WCF and WPF, a new community technical preview is available.
For those developing towards Vista with native code, you will be able to tap into new APIs. In talking with Jay Roxe, Lead Product Manager in the Developer Division, he expressed a lot of excitement over some of the new opportunities provided by the new native APIs in addition to the managed code that is being made available. A number of exciting areas within the API can be exploited including search, speech, peer-to-peer development with the "People Near Me" feature, security and reliability with the User Account Control (UAC), the transactive file system, using Windows error features, and much more. With over 7,000 new APIs, the list goes on. Also available for the native developer is DirectX 10. This newer version of DirectX is, however, targeted to Windows Vista.
As an example of the changes you can consider for your applications built on Vista, consider the Vista search features. The search within Vista is extremely powerful. You have search built into the operating system. You can do a search for different file types, using tags, and much more. You can create the same filtered searches, pull in the search dialogs, and much more. By using the Start menu search, you can get results that include the standard files and applications, but also information such as emails and other data. By using some of the APIs, you can both tap into this search as well as tag your data so it will be captured within the search.
Whether you are developing managed applications or native, with the new APIs in Vista and the release of the .NET Framework 3.0, there is a new deluge of items to add to your toolbox. Because this edition of the framework is now released, there is no reason to hold back on using them in production.
- Microsoft .NET Framework 3.0 Redistribution Package
- Visual Studio 2005 extensions for .NET Framework 3.0 (Windows Workflow Foundation)
- The Visual Studio 2005 extensions for.NET Framework 3.0 (WCF & WPF), November 2006 CTP
- Microsoft Windows SDK for Windows Vista
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