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.NET Framework Inches Closer with Release Candidate

Attendees of the Microsoft Professional Developers Conference this week in Los Angeles walked away with release candidate versions of Visual Studio .NET and the Microsoft .NET Framework -- proving that Microsoft is close to finishing key .NET building blocks by year-end as promised.

Visual Studio .NET is Microsoft's flagship developer toolkit and the tool Microsoft prefers that developers use to build Web services under its .NET vision.

The .NET Framework is the runtime environment for the next-generation Web services Microsoft wants developers to build.

The framework release will be too late to include in Windows XP, the client operating system Microsoft is launching Thursday, meaning that any Microsoft statements that Windows XP is a necessary stop for any enterprise on the road to .NET are overblown.

However, the delivery of the release candidate of the framework on Tuesday means that Microsoft should be able to include the framework as promised within Windows .NET Server. Windows .NET Server is the follow-on release to Windows 2000 Server, and has previously gone by the names Windows 2002 Server and Whistler Server.

Windows .NET Server is widely viewed as a point-release to Windows 2000 (i.e. Windows NT 5.1).

Microsoft says more than 2.5 million developers tested the software. PDC attendees received early versions of several other new components of Microsoft's burgeoning .NET infrastructure this week in their conference bags.

There was a technology preview for Smart Device Extensions for Visual Studio .NET, a .NET My Services Software Development Kit (SDK), a .NET Alerts SDK technology preview, a .NET Speech SDK technology preview and a Commerce Server 2002 technology preview among other goodies.

About the Author

Scott Bekker is editor in chief of Redmond Channel Partner magazine.

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