As a part of the conversation on the VS2010 and .NET FX 4 pillars, I thought I would focus today on the .NET platform.
With .NET FX 4, we are focusing on empowering innovative user experiences in applications, allowing for re-invigorating large ISV applications, enabling developers to create connected and declarative applications, and enabling developers to build next generation line of business (LOB) applications.
We know that user experience is becoming critical for LOB applications. In WPF4, we are adding support for the Windows7 multi-touch, ribbon controls, and taskbar extensibility features. The Surface 2.0 SDK will also be built on WPF 4 and share a common multi-touch infrastructure and programming model. We are adding a Data Grid control that will significantly improve your experience when building data centric applications. We are also addressing some of the fundamentals with even better deployment, continuing improvements in performance and scalability, visual improvements such as text clarity and layout pixel snapping, and improved localization and interoperability.
Large ISV applications can easily take advantage of the user experience inherent to WPF and the improvements to it in WFP4. We understand firsthand what it means to re-skin a large native application and take advantage of the incredible UI you can get from WPF. For Visual Studio 2010, we have taken Visual Studio and started to transform the UI in this very way. You won’t see this happen throughout the entire IDE in this next version however, but we are taking all new pieces of UI that are being written and using WPF as well as taking a bet in some of our larger UI infrastructure pieces. As I mentioned earlier this week in a post, we have a new editor that is written exclusively in WPF and built on MEF and .NET FX 4. Our start page is new, clean, and simple and is also WPF based as is our overall shell. This work has driven some improvements in WPF and the new WPF controls will strengthen your ability to re-skin your application with WPF while leaving the business logic intact.
Another area we are focusing on is to make your life easier for n-tier development. N-tier development is a reality in the business world today – application patterns such as those in Silverlight and Ajax make n-tier mainstream. In .NET FX 4, We are making n-tier development much easier by doing all the plumbing work for you and letting you focus on your business logic while still being explicit about the network transitions. We are providing Visual Studio support for a single solution that spans both the web server and the client tiers with end-to-end solutions around sorting, paging, filtering of data on the client, as well as end-to-end solutions for data validation from declarative data on the database tier all the way through to the client UI. You will be able to write validation logic once – have it run anywhere and this framework will work with any data access layer – the Entity Framework, LINQ to SQL, ADO.NET, nHibernate, etc.
.NET FX 4 also builds on prior investments that we have made in Windows Communication Foundation (WCF) and Windows Workflow Foundation (WF). The main goal is to enable developers to express applications in a way that makes sense to the team and business, provide a framework for durable, long running apps, and simplify the creation and customization of authoring experiences. WF in .NET FX 4 includes a composable set of workflow styles, a unification of rules and activities as well as improved data binding, scoping, and expression support. In Windows Communication Foundation (WCF) we are simplifying implementing complex communication patterns with content-based message correlation and support for long-running durable communications. We are also adding XAML support for declarative service authoring and improved support for REST service authoring. To improve the developer experience with these technologies, we are improving the tooling in Visual Studio 10 with a new flowchart designer. The new tooling will make it easy to create custom activity UIs leveraging WPF and the new declarative-workflow model will make re-hosting the designers outside of Visual Studio even easier than before.
As you can see, there is a lot of good stuff that we are adding to .NET FX 4.