Ok, I'm not totally sure why all my posts lately have had a slightly negative tone to them, perhaps I'm becoming a slightly disgruntled Microsoft developer. Anyhow, here goes another slightly disgruntled post.
Today MS released the beta mentioned in the title of this post. You can get the details at Somasegar's blog:
Traditionally our service packs address a range of issues found both through customer and partner feedback as well as our own internal testing. While this service pack holds true to that theme and delivers updates for these types of issues, it also builds on the tremendous value that Visual Studio 2008 and .NET Framework 3.5 deliver today and enables an improved developer experience by adding a number of additional components that cover a range of highly requested customer features.
Ok, so this service pack is really not a service pack at all. I think Matt Milner describes it well in his post Not just a service pack (VS 2008 and .NET 3.5 SP 1):
Microsoft has rolled out the beta of SP1 for .NET Framework version 3.5 and Visual Studio 2008. Now don't get confused, this is not just a simple set of bug fixes, this thing is big!
- Entity Framework and LINQ to entities
- ADO.NET Data Services (formerly project "Astoria")
- Dynamic data web sites (highly RAD data driven web sites)
- Performance improvements across the board (WCF, WPF, AJAX, debugging, etc.)
- New client profile (not quite the slimmed down CLR of silverlight, but gives you a smaller footprint without server technologies you don't need). Now, if they could do the opposite and remove the Windows UI stuff so I could run Windows Server 2008 Server Core with IIS and ASP.NET.
- a bunch of perf and usability improvements in VS 2008
Now I'm excited about this service pack because as a Microsoft developer I get a lot of benefits from the above items. I've been using ADO.NET Data Services and think it is great. However, I think Microsoft needs some help with its release cycle and naming releases. Maybe it is because they are trying out this new way of doing more frequent releases, but thinks have just gone completely wacky in my opinion. It used to be fairly straight-forward:
- .NET 1.0 - 1/5/2002
- .NET 1.1 - 4/1/2003
- .NET 2.0 - 11/7/2005
- .NET 3.0 - 11/6/2006
.NET 3.0 varied some in that it still used the CLR 2.0 which was somewhat confusing for many people, but also made sense and was a nice feature. However, next up was .NET 3.5 which really seemed more like .NET 4.0 than 3.5 with all the new features. Interestingly, .NET 3.5 still used the CLR 2.0 but included C# 3.0. Confused yet?
Now we have a service pack on top of 3.5 that adds even more features. So 3.5 SP1 is more of a feature pack, but I guess it does have performance enhancements which makes it kind of a service pack. I personally this to be confusing and think that if you add features you should do some kind of rev on the version number. Really this should be .NET 4.1, but that is only my $.02.
Anyhow, enough complaining, get back to coding with all these new features, which are really cool features! Have fun!