Thursday, November 29, 2007

ASP.NET .NET 3.5 Extensions Preview to Include Entity Framework Beta 3, ADO.NET Data Services

Scott Guthrie's .NET Web Product Roadmap (ASP.NET, Silverlight, IIS7) post of November 29, 2007 states that Entity Framework Beta 3 (presumably with EDM Designer CTP 2) and a VS 2008 RTM-compliant preview of ADO.NET Data Services (formerly Project Astoria) will debut next week in conjunction with the newly-named ASP.NET 3.5 Extensions Release. Scott says, in part:

  • ADO.NET Data Services: In parallel with the ASP.NET Extensions release we will also be releasing the ADO.NET Entity Framework.  This provides a new modeling framework that enables developers to define a conceptual model of a database schema that closely aligns to a real world view of the information.  We will also be shipping a new set of data services (codename "Astoria") that make it easy to expose REST based API endpoints from within your ASP.NET applications.

"In parallel with" and "also be shipping" don't necessarily mean "with the other pieces next week." Microsoft representatives wouldn't confirm to me that Entity Framework (EF) Beta 3, EDM Designer CTP 2, and the ADO.NET Data Services will release next week. I'll update this post when the actual release data is public.

Update 12/7/2007: Microsoft released EF Beta 3 and EDM Designer CTP 2 on 12/6/2007, as reported in Entity Framework Beta 3 Available for Download of that date. Still no word on the Astoria release date other than "almost here." See the "ADO.NET Data  Services CTP1 'Almost Here' with LINQ to Astoria, New Wire Formats, and Increased Security" topic in LINQ and Entity Framework Posts for 12/3/2007+.

Note: Joe Wilcox says "'Astoria' will be included in next week's ASP.NET 3.5 Extensions preview release. Astoria is Microsoft's incubation project for exposing data as a service" in his Microsoft Updates Web Developer Roadmap post of November 29, 2007.

As "Something to watch," Joe adds:

Microsoft's data model emphasis, which is more than just about rich Internet applications delivery. The emphasis directionally reveals something about Microsoft's forthcoming Web services platform. Data-driven may not be a new concept, but Microsoft is positioning for a leap frog over competitors. That's topic for another post. :)

Other Elements of the ASP.NET .NET 3.5 Extensions Preview

Scott's post also states that the extensions release will include:

  • ASP.NET MVC: This model view controller (MVC) framework for ASP.NET provides a structured model that enables a clear separation of concerns within web applications, and makes it easier to unit test your code and support a TDD workflow.  It also helps provide more control over the URLs you publish in your applications, and more control over the HTML that is emitted from them.  You can learn more about it from Part 1 of my ASP.NET MVC Tutorial series.  I'm hoping to find time this weekend to write and post Part 2 of the series. [Read more about the MVC Framework here.]
  • ASP.NET AJAX Improvements: New ASP.NET AJAX features in the ASP.NET 3.5 Extensions release will include better browser history support (back/forward button integration, and server-side history management support via a new <asp:history> server control), improved AJAX content linking support with permalinks, and additional JavaScript library improvements.
  • ASP.NET Dynamic Data Support: The ASP.NET 3.5 Extensions release will deliver new features that enable faster creation of data driven web sites.  It provides a rich scaffolding framework, and enables rapid data driven site development using both ASP.NET WebForms and ASP.NET MVC.
  • ASP.NET Silverlight Support: With the ASP.NET 3.5 Extensions release we'll deliver support for easily integrating Silverlight within your ASP.NET applications.  Included will be new controls that make it easy to integrate Silverlight video/media and interactive content within your sites.

Update 11/30/2007: Rick Strahl's What's Ailing ASP.NET Web Forms essay provides the view of the current state of ASP.NET and a look at the future of ASP.NET MVC. It's written by an independent Web developer with many years of ASP and ASP.NET experience.

ASP.NET Dynamic Data Support

"Dynamic Data Support" sounds to me like Rob Conery's open-source SubSonic data access layer and Web page generator that I described in my SubSonic will be the "Convention-Driven Toolset for Microsoft’s New MVC Framework" for ASP.NET post of November 11, 2007 (updated 11/13, 11/18, and 11/29/2007.)

Rob's working at Microsoft (but living on Kaua'i) and still maintaining his Weke Road personal blog. My post's "SubSonic's Continuing Open-Source Status" section described Rob's and Microsoft's commitment to continuing development of SubSonic as an open-source project.

The "Moving Forward with .NET 3.5" topic of Rob's State Of SubSonic, November 2007 post of November 28, 2007 says:

We’re shelving the query tool update that we’ve been planning. In fact we’re shelving any further feature change/innovation in favor of moving forward with .NET 3.5.

There are soooo many language enhancements to .NET 3.5 that we have a chance to refactor and trim our feature set really nicely. For instance, our entire Sugar library can be redone as extension methods - which is what they should be.

In addition, as many know, we have a lot of love coming for the new MVC framework.

It doesn’t make sense to rev two branched versions of SubSonic that run on a different platform, so the next major version will be a version rev to 3.0, and will work on .NET 3.5 only.

This doesn’t mean we won’t support/fix/tweak/patch 2.0 - we’ll always try to make it better. But in terms of features, it’s pretty much set.

With regard to incorporating LINQ in the query tool and meshing with the MVC Framework, the "New Features for [SubSonic] 3.0" topic says:

Eric and I have been talking a lot about the query tool and how to make it work with LINQ. I think we have a nice scheme planned, so expect to see a new query tool as we’ve discussed in the past.

We’re going to throw all kinds of love at the new MVC toolset. All Kinds. It’ll be magic. And we’ll cook up some nice reference apps for you to play with. More on that later (when I figure out just what features I’ll be working on in the MVC toolset.

Judging from this post, if Dynamic Data Support is based on SubSonic and the preview arrives next week, it would probably be an unmodified or slightly modified version of SubSonic 2.0. When the bits arrive next week, I'll update this and the 11/11/2007 post.

Silverlight 1.1 Becomes Silverlight 2.0

According to Scott, the next public Silverlight preview will include major upgrades to the WPF UI framework, add a "rich set of controls," including a DataGrid, provide REST, POX, RSS, and WS-* (plus, presumably ATOM Pub), and include LINQ to XML support. The number and significance of new features warrants a full version upgrade, so Silverlight 1.1 will become Silverlight 2.0.

Microsoft plans a Silverlight 2.0 beta version for 2008Q1 with a GoLive license. VS 2008 Express Edition users will be glad to hear that the Silverlight toolset for VS 2008 will work with the free editions. (VS 2008 Professional Edition is required for the just-released Silverlight 1.1 tools.)