It can be challenging to keep up with the new developer tools that Microsoft has either recently released or that are in development.  The following blog is a summary of information that I collected from various sources.  I hope it helps.  This document was written September 12, 2007 so the content will become outdated quickly as new products and technologies are announced. 


.Net 3.0  (WinFX, NetFX3)

When It Ships

Ships with Vista and Longhorn server.  Available as free download for Windows XP SP2 and Windows 2003.    Released 11/6/2006

What It Is

Includes all of 2.0 Framework.  There are 4 major functional areas that are added to the framework. 

They are:

Windows Presentation Foundation (AKA: WPF, Avalon)

                 The new graphical subsystem for Windows that is routed directly through Direct3D. 

                Why It’s Important

·         Provides very clear line of demarcation between the User Interface and Business Logic.

·         Unifies UI, 2 dimensional drawing , 3 dimensional drawing,  vector graphics, animation, raster graphics (i.e. bitmaps), audio and video.

·         Provides greater performance then previous versions.

·         WPF applications can run on desktop or web browser.

Windows Communication Foundation  (AKA: WCF, Indigo)

Unified framework for building distributed applications.

Why It’s Important

·         Unified programming model for communication

o   ASMX – for interop with other platforms

o   Attribute based programming – For enterprise services

o   WS-* Protocol support – WSE

o   Message Oriented Programming

o   .Net Remoting – Extensibility location transparency

·         Integrated into VS 2005 (intellisense, templates and debugging)

·         Works with Contracts which is agreement with client on the:

o   Operations the service can perform

o   The data structure

o   The structure of the message on the wire

·         Communication is config based so easy to change the protocol/transport



Windows Workflow Foundation (WWF)

The programming model, engine and tools for quickly building workflow enabled applications.


Why It’s Important

·         Provides a framework for creating sequential workflows, state machines and a rules engine.

·         Provides a graphical interface for creating the workflows.  Graphical interface is programmable so developer can host it in their own application. 

·         Provides default services for Tracking progress, persistence, thread management and transactions.  All services are extensible so developer can write their own.

Windows Cardspace (AKA: InfoCard)

Enables users to provide their digital identities in a familiar, secure and easy way.   Main features are:

·     Support for any digital identity system

·     Consistent user control of digital identity

·     Replacement of password-based Web login

·     Improved user confidence in the identity of remote applications

Why It’s Important

·         Protects users from being vulnerable to phishing attacks and spoofed websites.

·         Extendable model that allows developers to create custom Identity Providers.  Currently developer must authenticate the user with one or more of the following; user ID and password, Kerberos tickets, X509 V3 certificates or SAML security tokens.

·         Built on top of WCF.



.Net 3.5


When It Ships

Ships with Visual Studio 2008 (Code named Orcas).    Targeted for end of 2007, early 2008

What It Is

.Net 3.5 is the latest version of the .Net framework.  In addition to many enhancements it provides new WS-* support and built in LINQ support.

It will run on Windows 2003, Windows XP , Vista and Longhorn.


·         AJAX is built into the .Net framework 3.5 , previous versions required separate downloads.   AJAX support is built into VS 2008 (automatic update of web.config,  server controls in toolbox). 

·         Tighter integration between WCF and WWF.  Provides new activities to support WCF.

·         Simplified publishing through RSS or ATOM

·         Performance improvements

·         Improvements in the GC

·         64 bit client improvements

·         New templates for web services, wcf, AJAX and WPF

·         Powerful Office development via VB.Net and C# (instead of only VBA).


LINQ (Language Integrated Query)

·         Provides a structured way to query collections  such as arrays, enumerable classes, XML, datasets from relational databases and third party data stores.  Any third party data store can expose their data to LINQ by implementing an interface.

·         The query is done directly from code written in C# or VB. 

·         Deeply integrated into programming languages and framework.

·         A powerful addition to the .Net framework that simplifies doing DB and XML queries using C# and VB.



The following OASIS specification ws-* standards  were added

·         WS-AtomicTransaction  V1.1

·         WS-ReliableMessaging V1.1

·         WS-SecureConversation V1.1

·         WS-Coordination V1.1


SilverLight 1.0

When It Ships

Shipped 9/5/2007

What It Is

Microsoft® Silverlight™ is a cross-browser, cross-platform plug-in for delivering the next generation of .NET based media experiences and rich interactive applications for the Web. Silverlight offers a flexible programming model that supports AJAX, VB, C#, Python, and Ruby, and integrates with existing Web applications. Silverlight supports fast, cost-effective delivery of high-quality video to all major browsers running on the Mac OS or Windows.   Support for Linux was announced on 9/5/2005.

Version 1.0 provides javascript based coding for the browser side code.  Support for building Silverlight applications built into VS 2008.

Silverlight 1.1

When It Ships


What It Is

Version 1.1 provides a subset of the .Net 3.5 framework that is downloaded to the browser one time and that is sandboxed.  Developers write client side code in a .Net language.  The compiled code is served by the web server and run on the browser.  This allows developers to write code behind pages for Silverlight applications.  Support for building Silverlight applications built into VS 2008.



Microsoft Expression

When It Ships

Currently shipped.  New versions are being released with strong support for Silverlight applications.

What It Is

A suite of products for developing rich content.  Products in suite are:

Microsoft Expression Web

A professional design tool to create modern, standards-based sites that deliver superior quality on the Web.  Expression Web provides seamless integration with Visual Studio 2005 and ASP.NET 2.0, enabling designers and developers to interact using products that they are most comfortable with. Designers can easily lay out XHTML, CSS, JavaScript, and basic dynamic functionality using Expression Web and take advantage of many ASP.NET 2.0-specific features like Master Pages for templating, and drag and drop controls. The project can then be handed over to developers using Visual Studio 2005, enabling them to extend the functionality through advanced server-side code and business logic.

Microsoft Expression Blend

The professional design tool to create engaging web-connected experiences for Windows. Microsoft® Expression Blend is a professional design tool to create compelling user experiences and applications for Windows using the new .NET Framework 3.0 (which includes the Windows Presentation Foundation). With the .NET Framework 3.0, designers and developers can work collaboratively to build visually stunning Windows applications that deliver a superior user experience and enhance user productivity and satisfaction. .NET Framework 3.0 includes the Windows Presentation Foundation, which introduces XAML (Extensible Application Markup Language), a markup language for describing application user interface, documents, and media content. XAML serves as a back-and-forth communication format which designers and developers can use to directly exchange and collaborate on applications created using both the Expression Studio and Visual Studio.

Microsoft Expression Design

A professional illustration and graphic design tool that lets you build compelling elements for both Web and desktop application user interfaces. Expression Design can be used together with other products in the Expression Studio, principally with Expression Blend for a end-to-end XAML based design workflow. Expression Design features an advanced XAML Export feature which allows design elements to be exported directly to XAML format, which can then be integrated with Expression Blend, Visual Studio, and other professional design and development tools for further elaboration and implementation within an application or website's user interface. Expression Design can import the following formats:.psd, ai, .jpg, .bmp, .png, .gif, .tif, .ico and .wdp (Windows Media Photo) files. Expression Design can export the following formats:.psd, .jpg, .bmp, .png, .gif, .tif, wdp, .pdf, and .xaml. Additionally there is support for copy/paste to Microsoft Office, and copy/paste of XAML to Expression Blend and other XAML editors.

Microsoft Expression Media

Expression Media is a professional digital asset management tool to visually catalog and organize all of the elements associated with your creative workflow. Expression Media is the newly announced member of the Expression family, and is based on the iView MediaPro product acquired by Microsoft in June of 2006. Expression Media is for creative professionals and anyone else with the need to quickly and easily import, organize, search, annotate, repurpose and archive digital files.. Expression Media is for creative professionals and anyone else with the need to quickly and easily import, organize, search, annotate, repurpose and archive digital files.Expression Media is for creative professionals and anyone else with the need to quickly and easily import, organize, search, annotate, repurpose and archive digital files. A feature of the Windows version of Expression Media, the Expression Encoder is designed to streamline the enhancement and publishing of video assets for cross-platform viewing on the Web with Silverlight*. With Expression Encoder, you can import, crop, and enhance video from multiple sources, add metadata, markers, overlays, and more. Create custom jobs and templates for automated publishing, or use powerful command-line features to integrate into your existing workflow - even on the server.

Microsoft Media Encoder

Expression Encoder offers enhancement, encoding, and publishing of rich video experiences with Microsoft Silverlight. Convert and compress multiple video formats to SMPTE standard VC-1 video for mobile, web, and HD video scenarios. For streamlined workflow, create branded templates with Expression Blend, and encode on the desktop or server to guarantee a consistent viewing experience on Windows, Mac, and devices. Expression Encoder is an application that is included with the Windows version of Expression Media.


SQL Server 2008 (AKA:  Katmai)


When It Ships


What It Is

This is the next version of SQL Server.  The major features are

 SQL Server Always On Technologies

Provide near zero downtime.  Data management will be self tuning, self organizing and self maintaining. 

Better support for unstructured and semi-structured data

SQL Server can be provide storage for different data such as XML, files, dowuments, email,…

Declarative Management Framework

Allow declarative configuring of policies and constraints on DB and/or tables.

Resource Governor

Resources can be reserved for certain users or workflows.

Reporting Services Enhancements

Integration of data virtualization products from the company Dundas Data Virtualization, which Microsoft acquired.


Windows Server 2008 (LongHorn)

When It Ships

First quarter 2008

What It Is

Next Windows server.  Product highlights include:

Built for the Web

Simplify Web server management with Internet Information Services 7.0, which is a powerful Web platform for applications and services. This modular platform provides a simplified, task-based management interface, greater cross-site control, security enhancements, and integrated health management for Web Services.

Internet Information Server (IIS) 7 and .NET Framework 3.0 provide a comprehensive platform for building applications that connect users to each other and to their data, enabling them to visualize, share, and act on information.


Virtualize multiple operating systems - Windows, Linux and others - on a single server. With virtualization built into the operating system and with simpler, more flexible licensing policies, it’s now easier than ever to take advantage of all the benefits and cost savings of virtualization.

Windows Server 2008 provides you with the flexibility to create an agile and dynamic datacenter to meet your changing business needs.

Terminal Services Gateway and Terminal Services RemoteApp are designed for easy remote access and application integration with the local desktop, enabling secure and seamless application deployment without the need for a VPN.



Windows Server 2008 is the most secure Windows Server ever. Its hardened operating system and security innovations, including Network Access Protection, Federated Rights Management, and Read-Only Domain Controller, provide unprecedented levels of protection for your network, your data, and your business.

Windows Server 2008 helps protect against failure and intrusion for servers, networks, data, and user accounts.

Network Access Protection gives you the power to isolate computers that don’t comply with your organization's security policies, and provides network restriction, remediation, and ongoing compliance checking.

Federated Rights Management Services provides persistent protection for sensitive data; helps reduce risks and enables compliance; and provides a platform for comprehensive information protection.

Read-Only Domain Controller allows you to deploy Active Directory Domain Services while restricting replication of the full Active Directory database, to better protect against server theft or compromise.

A Solid Foundation for Your Business Workloads

Windows Server 2008 is the most flexible and robust Windows Server operating system to date. With new technologies and features such as Server Core, PowerShell, Windows Deployment Services, and enhanced networking and clustering technologies, Windows Server 2008 provides you the most versatile and reliable Windows platform for all of your workload and application requirements.

Server Manager accelerates server setup and configuration, and simplifies ongoing management of server roles via a unified management console.

Windows PowerShell is a new command-line shell with more than 130 tools and an integrated scripting language that enables an administrator to automate routine system administration tasks, especially across multiple servers.

Server Core is a new installation option for selected roles that includes only the necessary components and subsystems without a graphical user interface, to provide a highly available server that requires fewer updates and less servicing.