Microsoft has just announced the release to manufacturing (RTM) of the .NET Framework 3.5 Service Pack 1 (SP1) and Visual Studio 2008 SP1.
Microsoft is feeding us these coding condiments not much more than nine months after the release of the .NET Framework 3.5 and Visual Studio 2008. The company says that now was the right time to ladle this extra layer of sauce on the products as it has now had time to incorporate customer feedback into the enhancements that the Service Packs now proffer.
New to the table tonight are features such as the .NET Framework Client Profile, which Microsoft says aids faster deployment of Windows-based applications. Microsoft’s message to developers is as follows:
“Developers can more easily deploy client applications thanks to an 86.5 per cent reduction (197 MB to 26.5 MB) in .NET Framework size. This means that end users will be able to download and install Windows-based applications significantly faster than before.”
This joins “multiple” enhancements to ASP.NET, a renewed effort to support database application development through the ADO.NET Entity Framework and some arguably less surprising integration improvements for SQL Server 2008.
The company says that these products have specifically helped customers looking to develop web-based applications that need highly reactive and responsive front ends – especially in cases where the customer does not have back office skills or infrastructural development capabilities or capacity.
I recently interviewed senior VP of Microsoft developer division 'Soma' Somasegar for ZDNet.co.uk and his thoughts on today’s announcement make interesting reading. According to Soma:
“Whenever we talk to developers, one of the major pain points that they face is deployment of their .NET applications due to the time it takes to install the .NET Framework. This is something we know we needed to work on and have delivered a great solution in SP1 with the .NET Framework Client Profile.”
Also in the mix with this announcement at the .NET Framework 3.5 SP1 end of the deal are several “improvements” to the common language runtime. Microsoft says that new ‘managed code’ capabilities could improve application startup time by 20 to 45 per cent and end-to-end application execution time by up to 10 per cent.
Once again with the web in mind, at the time of its release in November 2007 we were reminded just how web 2.0 application-specific Microsoft wants us to consider the .NET Framework 3.5 to be. Its justification for this is new server controls and a client-script library for AJAX-style applications.
Removing the need to create extra custom code could vindicate these claims, but the truth will no doubt be told in the longer term as more customers experience the technology and we hear from more companies other than the ones Microsoft is prepared to feature in its press releases and on the MSDN.
Those proof points will demand further validation from the legions of developers that Microsoft has now promised to improve productivity for by, “Simplifying the requirements for creating, implementing, changing and scaling applications via delivery of a single framework for service development that spans enterprise-critical applications and emerging rich, interactive applications.”
If you like me have attended Tech.Ed events and Microsoft PDC for the last few years, you may agree that in general, the developer audience appears to be generally quite happy about this kind of development and product enhancement as they place their faith in the software giant.
Will all these augmentations be as finely tuned and ready to hit the mark as Microsoft says they are? No doubt, the truth will out.