Your company may be in the same state as many of my ISVs. Getting ready to launch a new product before summer. And while you are heads down doing testing, bug fixes, many are thinking about their next generation products to ship next winter and spring.

And high on their list to consider, figure out, and to incorporate into their architectures are the features of .NET Framework 3.5 SP1, aka Extensions.

This release ties together the the display of the data in ASP.NET controls, with your Web Service, with Entities, that hook to your data. I submit, it is part of the game changing that's going on as we move to an architecture where it is easier and easier to build flexible, customizable solutions.

.NET Framework 3.5 SP1 builds on the previous version that came out in November. Microsoft .NET Framework 3.5 service pack 1 is a cumulative update that contains many new features building incrementally upon .NET Framework 2.0, 3.0, 3.5, and includes .NET Framework 2.0 service pack 2 and .NET Framework 3.0 service pack 2 cumulative updates. And it is currently in beta release. You can get it at Microsoft .NET Framework 3.5 Service pack 1 Beta

You can download the training kit that shows you how to get started from here . The kit includes presentations and labs. For more details see .NET 3.5 Enhancements Training Kit May Preview. The release is due out this summer.

Each release of the .NET Framework adds features that will ultimately change the way you'll write applications. In my last post, Big Picture for .NET Framework 3.5, I described some of what these changes mean to your architecture. And the features in .NET 3.5 SP1 continue that.

There are several features in .NET Framework 3.5 SP1 are important to architects and developers in developing how you put your next generation application together or in improving your current apps.

You can follow Scott Guthrie's blog and find examples, up to the minute release information, and much more.

Here are some of the main features to incorporate into your next gen products.

ADO.NET Data Services

Have you wanted your users to be able to retrieve data based on the content of a URL? Wanted support out-of-the box for REST and JSON?

ADO.NET Data Services consists of a combination of patterns and libraries that enable the creation and consumption of data services for the web. The goal of the ADO.Net Data Services framework is to facilitate the creation of flexible data services that are naturally integrated with the web, using URIs to point to pieces of data and simple, well-known formats to represent that data, such as JSON and plain XML. This results in the data service being surfaced to the web as a REST-style resource collection that is addressable with URIs and that agents can interact with using the usual HTTP verbs such as GET, POST or DELETE. For more about ADO.NET data services, we have a set of 15-minute videos that are available on a blog entry Excellent Series of ADO.Net Data Services. This link gives you an idea about how you’d use this in your code.

ASP.NET MVC

ASP.NET MVC provides a framework that enables you to easily implement the model-view-controller (MVC) pattern for Web applications. This pattern lets you separate applications into loosely coupled, pluggable components for application design, processing logic, and display. ASP.NET MVC is not a replacement for Webforms. It provides an alternative choice when designing a Web application.

For more about the MVC framework, see Microsoft ASP.NET MVC. You'll find videos and Quickstarts.

ASP.NET Entity Framework

ASP.NET Entity Framework is designed to make it even easier for developers to build data-centric applications and services regardless of the underlying data source. The ADO.NET Entity Framework extends the capabilities of Language-Integrated Query (LINQ) technology by enabling developers to use LINQ against many back-end databases. Developers can work at a conceptual level and focus on business logic rather than data access, which makes it significantly easier for them to work with data-centric applications and services. For some Entity Framework samples, see ADO.NET Entity Framework & LINQ to Relational Data. For more information, see Getting Started wih the Entity Framework.

ASP.NET Dynamic Data

ASP.NET Dynamic Data provides a rich scaffolding framework that allows rapid data driven development without writing code. ASP.NET Dynamic Data brings major usability and RAD development changes to the existing ASP.NET data controls.

After you add a LINQ to SQL or Entity Framework data model to a project, you can simply register it with Dynamic Data. The result is a fully functional Web site. Full CRUD (create, read, update, and delete) operations are supported. The site includes filtering by foreign keys and Boolean fields; foreign keys are automatically converted to their friendly names. Smart validation is automatically available, which provides validation based on database constraints for nullable fields, data type, and field length.

Also provides a new addition to ASP.NET AJAX that provides support for managing browser history (back button support).

You can find Samples and a deeper description at Microsoft ASP.NET Dynamic Data. You'll also find the Dynamic Data Wizard, which is a tool for generating physical Web pages that are built by using Dynamic Data controls.

Incremental Improvements in .NET 3.5 SP1

There are many other improvdements in .NET 3.5 SP1. For deeper view into these features, see the Overview on the download page. A quick summary of those items include:

  • Core improvements to the common runtime language.
  • Improvements to Windows Presentation Foundation, including faster startup time.
  • Added support for ClickOnce technologies, inclouding customized branding.
  • LINQ to SQL supports new date and file stream capabilities in SQL Server 2008.
  • DatContract Serializer in WCF is easier to use.
  • The .NET Framework Data Provider for SQL Server adds upport for file stream and sparse column capabilities in SQL Server 2008.