A few months ago, Microsoft was hedging as to whether it would deliver the final "Orcas" Visual Studio 2008 code in 2007 or 2008. But as of November 5, it's official: VS 2008 is going to be released to manufacturing later in November 2007.
The official "launch" of Visual Studio 2008 remains set for February 27, 2008. But the VS 2008 and .Net Framework 3.5 bits will be signed, sealed and delivered sooner than that.
The RTM date for Visual Studio 2008 was one of several announcements Microsoft made at its TechEd Developers 2007 conference in Barcelona this week. Also unveiled at TechEd Developers on November 5:
- The first Microsoft Sync Framework Community Technology Preview is now available for download. I'm still not quite sure how/when this technology (formerly code-named Harmonica and then Ibiza) will ship in final form. Microsoft is saying that it will "build on" the sync functionality available in Visual Studio 2008, but not that it will ship with/in VS 2008. More specifics to come.
- Popfly Explorer, a tool that integrates Microsoft's Popfly mash-up builder with VS 2008 and Visual Web Developer Express 2008, is now available to developers. PopFly Explorer "provides users an easy way to add Silverlight gadgets built in Popfly to their Web pages, as well as publish HTML web pages directly to Popfly," according to the Softies.
- Premier-level Visual Studio Industry Partners now have the option to view some Visual Studio IDE source code under a Shared Source license. Microsoft is billing the Shared Source IDE availability as a way to help developers debug their code and more easily integrate their products with VS 2008.
- New VS 2008 licensing terms that will no longer limit development partners who are building solutions on top of Visual Studio to agree to make them available for Windows and other Microsoft platforms. Again -- more details to come on this one. Microsoft says it is changing the terms to "better support interoperability with other developer tools and cross-platform scenarios."
That's all I know so far. More details to come once I have a chance to chat with the folks in Barcelona....