Microsoft hit another milestone on the road to Windows Vista on November 6: The .Net Framework 3.0 has gone to manufacturing.
Microsoft announced the completion of .Net Framework 3.0 – the collection of technologies formerly known as WinFX (Windows Presentation Foundation, Windows Communication Foundation, Windows Workflow Foundation, Windows CardSpace and .Net 2.0) -- at the Microsoft Developer Connections conference in Las Vegas.
Microsoft put the finishing touches on the version of .Net Framework 3.0 that is designed to run on Windows XP and Windows Server 2003 on Monday.
Microsoft also announced at DevConnections the RTM of a number of other developer-related tools and technologies. Visual Studio 2005 Tools for Office 2007 (VSTO) -- a k a Visual Studio 2005 Second Edition -- has RTM’d, as have Visual Studio 2005 extensions for the .Net Framework 3.0. Officials also announced at DevConnections immediate availability of Beta 2 of its ASP.Net Ajax technologies (which formerly went by the code name “Atlas”), as well as of the Release Candidate (RC) near-final beta of SQL Server 2005 Compact Edition embeddable database (the product recently known as SQL Server Everywhere).
Of these many announcements, however, it’s the RTM of .Net Framework 3.0 that is the biggest news. Completion of the .Net Framework 3.0, which, in addition to being available for existing Windows releases, also is slated to ship as part of Vista.
So the fact that the framework is done offers the biggest clue yet that Vista is finally, really and truly, just about soup. (I'm hearing Tuesday, November 7, is the latest internal Microsoft Vista RTM target.) While the .Net Framework 3.0 is not inside the Vista operating system itself, it will ship with every copy of Vista and Longhorn Server, regardless of how users take distribution of the those Windows releases.
Microsoft is making all of these developer-focused technologies available for immediate download from its Visual Studio Web site.
In related news, Microsoft also has made available for download the RC of the Vista Application Compatibility Toolkit (ACT) 5.0 toolkit, designed to help customers and partners check existing applications for Vista compatibility. Microsoft has said it is aiming to release the final ACT 5.0 product around the same time as Vista becomes widely available.