09 April, 2008

.NET is dead. Long live .NET!!!!

The title is derived from the historic phrase "The King is dead. Long live the King!" signalling the immediate succession of a monarch. Yeah! .NET frameworks 1.0 and 1.1 are on their path towards extinction. The mainstream support by Microsoft has ended for .NET 1.0 and would end in October 2008 for .NET 1.1. Not to worry, a new bunch of leaders, read .NET 2.0, .NET 3.0 and .NET 3.5 have come to the fore now.

The focus of this article would be to provide a brief history of various .NET frameworks and related technologies. Major (not all) technology releases in chronological order:

.NET Framework 1.0
Visual Studio .NET 2002 (Rainier)

.NET Framework 1.1
Visual Studio .NET 2003 (Everett)

SQL Server 2005
Visual Studio 2005 (Whidbey)
Team Foundation Server 2005

.NET Framework 2.0
C# 2.0
ASP.NET AJAX 1.0 (initially ATLAS)
ASP.NET AJAX Control Toolkit
.NET Framework 3.0 (WinFX)

.NET Framework 3.5
Visual Studio 2008 (Orcas)
Team Foundation Server 2008

SQL Server 2008 (Katmai)
C# 3.0

My thoughts
Looking at Microsoft's "run-rate", newer technologies are being unleashed at shrinking intervals. Although this mandates a learning curve for the developer (/tester) community, it provides multiple benefits like lesser "time-to-market", increased productivity, more robust applications, etc. However, not all businesses would appreciate migrating to a newer technology every other year, due to inherent costs and risks. But, the possibilities are very positive! The latest technology offerings offer the fastest and most efficient way to develop enterprise ready applications.
Scott Guthrie, the General Manager of the .NET Framework (and a very good blogger) sells the idea of "multi targetting" support in his useful post. Do subscribe to his blog to get latest updates.
The Visual Studio Team System 2008 is one of the best IDE's around and offers specific flavors to multiple stakeholders including database professionals and testers. It is a one-stop-shop for project/build management (through TFS), development, testing, database, performance tuning, deployment, etc. See feature list in this nice post.
One more welcome move is an affinity towards being "open-source". The Microsoft patterns & practices team allows open source development at CodePlex and this has resulted in great guidance (code/patterns/best practices/etc.) to and from the community.
But, I personally feel that the naming / branding exercise should be done in a more intuitive way, rather than juggling around with numbers (why usage of decimals instead of whole numbers?)! See a discussion against recent naming conventions in .NET.

Note: The launch dates (rather years) are accurate to the best of my (researched) knowledge; incase of any errors, do let me know and I will correct them.

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