Today is the end of a long road for the Visual Studio 2005 and SQL Server 2005 teams - many congratulations to them on shipping! The book I co-wrote five years ago concerning development for SQL Server 2000 Analysis Services may now be officially considered obsolete!
For those of us who focus on WinFX development, this means that there's going to be one less moving part to worry about. Ever since I came over to Redmond, I've been fighting a constant battle to try and keep the right versions of all the various system components (.NET Framework, WinFX Runtime Components, Visual Studio 2005, WinFX SDK, Visual Studio Extensions for WinFX) installed and correct, as I know have many of you.
Being "on the inside" is both a blessing and a curse in this regard: on the one hand, there are even more builds to choose from (since most teams produce at least one build each day, plus you can build your own avalon.msi from source); on the other hand, you do at least have the benefit of manifold distribution lists, intranet sites and the names and room numbers of colleagues that you can ping to get issues resolved. But having a stable version of the .NET Framework and developer tools means that the level of churn will drop significantly. Given, too, that the number of breaking changes in the WinFX API is starting to drop precipitously, I live in hope that the worst is over.
Of course, there's one remaining challenge, which is that the currently public release of the WinFX Runtime Components (the September CTP that was handed out at the PDC) is based on .NET Framework 2.0 Beta 2. Those who have been quick off the starting line may have already discovered that this CTP release is incompatible with the RTM (final) release of the .NET Framework (thanks to Ahmed Qurashi for the link and the question that prompted this blog entry). The Windows Presentation Foundation ("Avalon"), Windows Communications Foundation ("Indigo") and Windows Workflow Foundation teams moved across to the final release in the month or so following on from the PDC release; as of a few weeks ago, we're now in a position where there are internal builds of the WinFX Runtime Components that are built against the final .NET Framework 2.0 release.
We have a new CTP release of the WinFX Runtime Components due very shortly (within the next couple of weeks), so there's not long to wait for a release that is compatible with the final .NET Framework 2.0. Unfortunately it's just not possible to have everything release simultaneously, due to the fact that there are at least five different product teams that work on this alone. The closer I get to the engine room, the more I realize that this is not a straightforward problem, particularly given our desire to be more transparent and increase the number of CTP-style releases.
Anyway, that's a brief explanation of the problem - hope it clarifies where we are a little.