.NET 3.0 Released

This info is pretty widely available by now, but we've officially released .NET 3.0. 

Some of you who haven't been completely up to speed on the latest betas have asked me about it:  does this mean large amounts of refactoring and learning a new environment?  What are the differences?  What's new?  How long will it take users to adopt?

Let's take the last question first.  All Vista installations (unless specifically removed) will have the .NET Framework 3.0.  It's available for XP/2003 as well as a redistributable.  Many ISVs are hesitant to quickly move to new frameworks because including it with their software bloats the product; users are sometimes hesitant about installing; but most generally, it adds complexity about handling requirements and installation.

As with .NET 2.0, those are solid arguments.  I think, though, that the new features offered in .NET 3.0 offer a compelling reason to consider targeting the 3.0 framework.  Fundamentally, the language and features are identical to .NET 2.0 (think of 3.0 as one heck of a feature pack on top of 2.0), so there's nothing new from a language/programming perspective (except when programming for the new technologies, of course).  The inclusion of Avalon (WPF), Indigo (WCF), Windows Workflow Foundation (WWF), and Cardspace are the largest new features. 

If these technologies can be leveraged in a new product (for example, if you're an ISV planning a new product within 3-6+ months), then I'd recommend targeting the 3.0 framework over the 2.0 framework.   Many developers will simply assume consumers have the 1.1 framework installed, and being the end of 2006, that's a reasonable assumption in many cases.

Most people I know, though, still don't make that assumption about 2.0 (a smart decision, IMO).  For simplicity, I know some have intentionally targeted the 1.1 framework to avoid this issue.  For server-side apps, this isn't much of an issue and WCF and WWF can provide some great functionality that it wouldn't make sense to use an older version.

For client-side apps, the challenge is deciding whether or not to go with WPF.  There's a lot of great tutorials and talks we're giving, so before reading too much, I'd suggest diving into a lab to try it out -- it just may offer some great functionality that you can leverage.  If you're on the east coast, be sure to watch for our .NET U program -- it's the fastest and best way to learn these new features ... plus you get some swag. :)

I'll be in Raleigh tonight at Glen Gordon's XNA talk at GSK.  Say hello!
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