Visual Studio 2008, .NET 3.5 to Be Released This Month, Launched Later

At the TechEd conference in Barcelona earlier this morning European time, Microsoft developer division corporate vice president S. Somasegar told attendees to expect the final Visual Studio 2008 to be shipped sometime in late November 2007. Since it is now early November 2007, that gives the company a pretty narrow RTM window.

But the "marketing launch" for the product is described as being set for February 2008, which means all the big parties will be delayed until after the holidays. Microsoft may have chosen to follow a Vista-like rollout model, making the next edition of its development suite available to volume license customers and MSDN subscribers first. The company had already slated a rollout party for SQL Server 2008 and Windows Server 2008 for February, and VS 2008's contribution to the champagne will apparently wait until then.

Last June, a Microsoft product manager declared VS 2008 "99% feature complete." This morning, we got a clearer picture of the 1% that completes the product mix.

Somasegar mentioned a new add-in called Popfly Explorer, whose purpose will be to enable Silverlight developers to more effectively create "mash-up" applications using Web services and animated front-ends. BetaNews first explored the early alphas of Popfly last May, and it's being described as Microsoft's answer to Yahoo Pipes.

Using the new add-in, Somasegar said in a blog post this morning, a developer can more easily create Silverlight gadgets and directly publish them to existing Web pages. This functionality will require the new 3.5 version of the .NET Framework, which Somasegar still refers to as ".NET FX," so the final edition will be made available later this month.

What has been called Microsoft's answer to Google Gears will also be shipping as part of VS 2008: Microsoft Sync Framework is being described as an engine for synchronizing databases across disparate platforms, such as from local networks to mobile devices. The idea is to help enterprise developers build more robust, data-driven applications with the added comfort of built-in portability.

As Microsoft describes it, the Sync Framework enables a network application to take on one of the roles of a server app, becoming what it calls a "synchronization provider." Once equipped with the provider component code, the application becomes capable of presenting replica data in varying scales of formats, including the old familiar ADO.NET but incorporating RSS and Atom as well.

What's interesting about this is that it conceivably divorces network applications from direct reliance upon Microsoft server platforms. In so doing, it has those applications swallow a little bit of those platforms unto themselves.

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