Developer .NET UPDATE—brought to you by the Windows & .NET Magazine Network

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November 7, 2003--In this issue:

1. Developer .NET Perspectives

  • Islands, Rivers, and Animals

2. Announcements

  • New Windows & .NET Magazine Web Site Unveiled!
  • Work with SQL Server?

3. Resource

  • Featured Thread: Application Using Old Files

4. Event

  • Don't Miss Our 4 New Web Seminars

5. New and Improved

  • UI Library for .NET
  • Tell Us About a Hot Product and Get a T-Shirt!

6. Contact Us

  • See this section for a list of ways to contact us.

Sponsor: DevConnections -- 2004 Date Announced

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The Spring 2004 DevConnections event will be held April 18 - 21 at the Hyatt Grand Cypress in Orlando, FL. Be sure to save these dates on your calendar. Early registrants will receive access to all three conferences for the one low price.

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1. Developer .NET Perspectives

by Bill Sheldon, bills@interknowlogy.com

  • Islands, Rivers, and Animals
  • As usual, Microsoft threw a great party for developers at the Professional Developers Conference (PDC) in Los Angeles last week. Each year at PDC, you can learn about the direction in which Microsoft tools are heading. If you've never been to PDC, I highly recommend attending next year's event because I'm sure Microsoft will be finishing updates on the three major products it introduced this year:

    • Whidbey: Although most people consider Whidbey an island just north of the Puget Sound region of Washington State, the Microsoft folks know Whidbey as the next version of Visual Studio .NET and the Windows .NET Framework.
    • Yukon: To those people who live in the far northwest corner of Canada, the Yukon is both a river and a territory that they call home. However, to Microsoft folks who live in Washington State, Yukon is the next version of Microsoft SQL Server.
    • Longhorn: When most people hear the word "Longhorn," they think of the cattle that populate the American southwest. When most Microsoft employees hear the word "Longhorn," they think of the next version of the Windows OS.

    Unlike Visual Studio .NET 2003, SQL Server 2003, and Windows Server 2003, Whidbey, Yukon, and Longhorn aren't incremental upgrades. The changes that are coming are major. The good news is that the releases of these three products are a long way off--that's good news because you have time to let each product's new possibilities creep into your imagination.

    In this column, I want to discuss Longhorn. (I'll discuss Yukon and Whidbey in future columns.) Longhorn is the product that's furthest away from completion--it hasn't even reached the alpha stage yet. To put its release time frame in perspective, Microsoft plans to debut the Longhorn OS with Whidbey's successor, which is currently code-named Orcas (another island north of Puget Sound). In the meantime, you'll be fed a steady diet of service packs and patches to the existing Windows 2003 OS.

    Given that the release of Longhorn is possibly 2 years away or longer, you might think a discussion of Longhorn is premature. However, getting the word out now is beneficial because the changes that Longhorn will introduce are significant. This release isn't just going to be a situation in which the Microsoft .NET technology ships with the OS, which is what occurred with Windows 2003. Longhorn will be built with .NET technology implementing core elements of the system. If you've doubted Microsoft's long-term commitment to .NET, this news should end any discussion of .NET's passing.

    Microsoft has broken Longhorn into four main areas. Microsoft refers to one of these areas as simply the basic OS services, which contain all the basic capabilities (e.g., device interfaces) that don't have a lot of marketing flair. Although Microsoft is updating these capabilities, their inclusion isn't revolutionary. The other three areas are Avalon (the UI), Windows Future Storage (WinFS--the file system), and Indigo (the communications system). Microsoft refers to these three areas as pillars because they represent new technology that builds on the set of basic OS services.

    Let's take a closer look at these pillars, beginning with Avalon. Microsoft is building Longhorn's shell with not only .NET classes but also an XML-based implementation. Fully explaining how the Longhorn development team is building the shell is beyond the scope of this column, but in short, the team is defining the UI's elements in the Extensible Application Markup Language (XAML). According to the "MSDN Magazine" article "Create Real Apps Using New Code and Markup Model," this language allows for the definition of UI elements as part of an XML structure. You can find this article, which covers XAML in sometimes confusing detail, at http://msdn.microsoft.com/longhorn/understanding/pillars/avalon/default.aspx?pull=/msdnmag/issues/04/01/avalon/default.aspx.

    WinFS will change the way you approach saving files. In many ways, WinFS is the start of a convergence between OS-storage and database-storage mechanisms. WinFS doesn't simply change the way files are stored. WinFS also changes the way items such as a contact list or calendar are represented within the WinFS file system. A file will be more like a collection of data with a common description. Key elements from the contents of a WinFS file will be indexed with the goal of providing a more unified system for saving data on the system. Don't look for WinFS to replace relational databases but rather to build more of the features you now associate with a database into your OS. For more information about WinFS, go to http://longhorn.msdn.microsoft.com/?//longhorn.msdn.microsoft.com/lhsdk/winfs/daovrwelcometowinfs.aspx.

    Indigo is all about .NET; in particular, it's essentially the maturation of XML Web services. As the standards associated with the Web Service Extensions continue to evolve, these standards will have a direct impact on the development of Indigo. The key is that portions of your OS will have Web service support built in without necessarily having them associated with Microsoft IIS. Interestingly, there's even an indication that portions of Indigo will be made available to extend Windows 2003 and Windows XP. An excellent Indigo FAQ is available at http://msdn.microsoft.com/longhorn/understanding/pillars/indigo/default.aspx?pull=/library/en-us/dnlong/html/indigofaq1.asp.

    Overall, Longhorn will eventually transform the Windows desktop. However, that transformation is still years away. In the meantime, developers need to focus on the technologies that they're using now and will use in the near future. So, in the coming weeks, I'll not only discuss the new features coming with Yukon and Whidbey but also continue to cover the technology that developers are using today to build applications.

    Until next time, if you'd like more information about Longhorn, I recommend you start from the link http://msdn.microsoft.com/longhorn/understanding/pillars/default.aspx. If you'd like more information about this year's PDC, go to http://msdn.microsoft.com/events/pdc.


    Sponsor: Windows & .NET Magazine Connections -- 2004 Date Announced

    The Spring 2004 Windows & .NET Magazine Connections event will be held April 4 - 7 in Las Vegas at the new Hyatt Lake Las Vegas. Save these dates on your calendar. Early registrants will receive the greatest possible discount.

    For more information, please visit us online or call 800-505-1201 or 203-268-3204.

    http://www.devconnections.com

    2. Announcements
    (brought to you by Windows & .NET Magazine and its partners)

  • New Windows & .NET Magazine Web Site Unveiled!

  • We are proud to announce the new and improved Windows & .NET Magazine Web site. Discover the fresh, new look and a more simplified way to find answers, news, strategic guidance, and how-to information. Check out our new Web site at

    http://www.winnetmag.com

  • Work with SQL Server?

  • SQL Server Magazine is an endless library of SQL Server information and expertise. Subscribe today and receive 12 print issues, along with access to the entire article archive and active forums on the Web. PLUS, you will also get the latest System Table Map Poster. Limited quantities are available, so subscribe today!

    https://secure.pentontech.com/nt/sql/index.cfm?promocode=psep213bfp

    3. Resource
    (brought to you by Windows & .NET Magazine)

  • Featured Thread: Application Using Old Files
  • Novice forum member Bilal is working on an application in which the application logic is in C# and the scripts are in Visual Basic .NET. He's encountering a strange problem. When he loads the scripts' updated .dll files in the application at runtime, the application is still using the old .dll files. He deleted all the .dll files and generated them once again, but to no avail. If you can help Bilal with this problem, go to the following URL:

    http://www.winnetmag.com/forums/rd.cfm?cid=55&tid=64794

    4. Event
    (brought to you by Windows & .NET Magazine)

  • Don't Miss Our 4 New Web Seminars
  • Sign up today for these upcoming Web seminars: How to Pick the Right Anti-Spam Solution, Assessing IM Risks on Your Network, Choosing the Right Patch Management Solution, and the Costs of Spam. Don't miss these free events!

    http://www.winnetmag.com/seminars

    5. New and Improved
    by Shauna Rumbaugh, products@winnetmag.com

  • UI Library for .NET
  • Crownwood Consulting announced DotNetMagic, a UI library for the Windows .NET Framework. The product includes a docking windows station similar to that in Visual Studio .NET. Developers can organize documents with the TabbedGroups control, customize the ContextMenu with application-specific menu items, and manage layout with the TitleBar control and TabControl. DotNetMagic also includes sample applications and AutoHide, WizardControl, and other tools for controlling the application workspace. DotNetMagic supports Microsoft .NET with the Framework installed and Windows 2003/XP/2000/NT/Me/98. Pricing starts at $199 for a single-user license. Contact Crownwood Consulting on the Web for more information or to download a product demo.

    http://www.dotnetmagic.com

  • Tell Us About a Hot Product and Get a T-Shirt!
  • Have you used a product that changed your IT experience by saving you time or easing your daily burden? Tell us about the product, and we'll send you a Windows & .NET Magazine T-shirt if we write about the product in a future Windows & .NET Magazine What's Hot column. Send your product suggestions with information about how the product has helped you to

    whatshot@winnetmag.com

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    6. Contact Us

  • About Developer .NET Perspectives -- bills@interknowlogy.com
  • About the newsletter -- kbemowski@winnetmag.com
  • About technical questions -- http://www.winnetmag.com/forums
  • About product news -- products@winnetmag.com
  • About your subscription -- Developer_dot_NET_update@winnetmag.com
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    Copyright 2003, Penton Media, Inc.