Sunday, June 17, 2007

Betas and CTPs - Microsoft Acropolis, Crossbow, .Net Framework 3.5

Two important IT/Developer Products from Microsoft are growing behind the curtains.
First one is the next version of .Net Framework .Net 3.5 and the next important one is AcropolisNext Generation of Smart Client Applications from Microsoft.

Acropolis – Revolutionizing Smart Client Development

Next Generation tool for Smart client Applications "Acropolis" is a toolkit for creating modular, business-focused Windows client applications. Acropolis is build up on the.NET Framework, and includes a run-time framework, design-time tools, and out-of-the-box functionality. In a nutshell it provides a better environment and tools to create Smart client applications.

Microsoft Smart Client Solutions offers an ocean of benefits in flexibility and usability over thin client solutions, at the same time retaining some of their manageability capabilities. These benefits can be substantial and can include an increase in user efficiency, a reduction in development and training costs, and corresponding improvements in the overall Total cost of ownership and Rate of Investment of the solutions.

Unfortunately, developing smart client solutions can be challenging. Hurdles like lack of a good application model, supporting infrastructure, and out-of-the-box implementations for commonly used client-side services forces each developer to address these sometimes complex issues themselves.

Acropolis targets at a solution by providing an application framework and tools to support the development of smart client line-of-business solutions. Acropolis is based on the composite smart client approach where solutions are constructed from a number of loosely coupled ‘parts’. Each part provides a unit of self-contained functionality that can be independently tested and developed and re-used in many different solutions.

Acropolis builds on the rich capabilities of Microsoft Windows and the .NET Framework, including Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF), by providing tools and pre-built components that help developers quickly assemble applications from loosely-coupled parts and services.

With Acropolis you will be able to:

1) Quickly create WPF enabled user experiences for your client applications.
Build client applications from reusable, connectable, modules that allow you to easily create complex, business-focused applications in less time.
2) Integrate and host your modules in applications such as Microsoft Office, or quickly build stand-alone client interfaces.
3) Change the look and feel of your application quickly using built-in themes, or custom designs using XAML.
4) Add features such as workflow navigation and user-specific views with minimal coding. 5) Manage, update, and deploy your application modules quickly and easily.

Valuable points of Reference:

Crossbow -
Windows Forms and WPF Interoperability

If you choose to write a WPF application from the ground up, you may need to augment the feature set of WPF by utilizing Windows Forms controls, Windows Forms-based User Controls and/or ActiveX controls. Many customers need a rich DataGrid control and since WPF will not ship a DataGrid control in the first release, customers want to use the Windows Forms 2.0 DataGridView control.

Crossbow the code name for the interoperability layer between Windows Forms and Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF). Crossbow is all about the ability to leverage your existing investments in Windows Forms and infuse your application with WPF functionality at your pace and without having to re-write your entire application.

And, just peeping from the back door, interesting things are happening. There is one more "Crossbow" project at Microsoft. It is the next version of the Windows Mobile OS, commonly referred to by Microsoft watchers as "Windows Mobile 6.0."

Microsoft .NET Framework 3.5 – Beta 1

The first Beta of .Net 3.5 was released on 27th April 2007.

Here is the link for it's download.

This one is a preview release(CTP) of the latest version of the .NET Framework. It seems like Microsoft is planning to continue to invest more in the .NET Framework developer platform and support the existing users. This new version of framework will be having minimal number of code breaking changes, so that existing applications built for .NET Framework 2.0 or .NET Framework 3.0 should continue to run without requiring changes in assembly or configurations.

The .NET Framework has a bunch of new interesting features, like LINQ support and integration of ASP.NET AJAX into the framework, especially in the areas of WCF and WF. Functionally .NET Framework 3.5 integrates new features in several major technology areas.

1 - Deep integration of Language Integrated Query (LINQ) (System.Data.Linq.dll), XLINQ (System.Xml.Linq.dll) and data awareness and LinqDataSource (System.Web.Extensions.dll).
3 - New web protocol support for building WCF services including AJAX, JSON, REST, POX, RSS, ATOM and several new WS-* standards.
4 - Full tooling support for WF, WCF and WPF including the new workflow-enabled services technology.
5 - New classes in the base class library (BCL) for the .NET Framework 3.5 address the most common customer requests.
6 - Deeper Support for the Web like Syndication, webHttpBinding, ASP.NET AJAX Integration, Partial Trust etc.
7 - Added support for all the new WS-* protocols that are coming out of OASIS - WS-ReliableMessaging, WS-AtomicTransaction, and WS-Trust/WS-SecurityPolicy, to make sure WCF continues to be a good WS-* citizen.
8) - New AddIn (plug-in) model(System.AddIn.dll).
9) - Peer to Peer APIs (
10) - Wrapper for Active Directory APIs (System.DirectoryServices.AccountManagement.dll ).
11) - WMI 2.0 managed provider (
System.Management.Instrumentation.dll combined with System.Management namespace in System.Core.dll).
12) - System.WorkflowServices.dll and System.ServiceModel.Web.dll – WF and WCF enhancements (for more on WF + WCF in v3.5 follow links from here).
13) - The implementation for ASP.NET AJAX (for more web enhancements, follow links from here) plus also the implementation of Client Application Services.
14) - In addition to the LINQ to Objects implementation, this assembly includes the following: HashSet, TimeZoneInfo, Pipes, ReaderWriteLockSlim, System.Security.*, System.Diagnostics.Eventing.* and System.Diagnostics.PerformanceData (

It looks like .NET Framework 3.5 is planned to release at the end of 2007.

For more detail about the features being introduced in .NET Framework 3.5 and Visual Studio code name “Orcas”, click here

Some reference links:,guid,a8383226-a0dd-48c5-9fea-33d5da159d17.aspx