.NET Framework Libraries – Source Code Coming!

Big news again from Scott Guthrie.  We're announcing coming availability of the source code for the .NET Base Class Libraries!

From Scott's post:

"One of the things my team has been working to enable has been the ability for .NET developers to download and browse the source code of the .NET Framework libraries, and to easily enable debugging support in them.

Today I'm excited to announce that we'll be providing this with the .NET 3.5 and VS 2008 release later this year.

We'll begin by offering the source code (with source file comments included) for the .NET Base Class Libraries (System, System.IO, System.Collections, System.Configuration, System.Threading, System.Net, System.Security, System.Runtime, System.Text, etc), ASP.NET (System.Web), Windows Forms (System.Windows.Forms), ADO.NET (System.Data), XML (System.Xml), and WPF (System.Windows).  We'll then be adding more libraries in the months ahead (including WCF, Workflow, and LINQ).  The source code will be released under the Microsoft Reference License (MS-RL)."

So, how is this different from what we as developers have been doing to date (firing up Reflector and having a look through the code)? 

First, this code has comments and original variable names to aid readability.  Second, sometimes there are IL constructs for which Reflector just can't determine what the original code was.  Finally, integration with the debugger means you can step from your application code directly into the .NET BCL code without having to stop, fire up Reflector, and hope to find the right code for your scenario.

Clearly this is going to be good news for developers and developer productivity. 


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