Web 2.0, Meet .Net 3.0

Microsoft renames its WinFX programming model ".Net 3.0" in the hopes of avoiding branding confusion.

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Microsoft is continuing to roll out—slowly but surely—new branding that will be part of its overall Windows Vista campaign. On June 9, company officials disclosed the latest name change.

Microsoft has decided to avoid any confusion in the naming scheme for its core developer technology and is renaming it in an effort to better reflect the direction the company is pursuing.

Microsoft is making a move to rename WinFX to the .Net Framework 3.0.

WinFX is a programming model for Vista and is the follow-on to Microsofts Win32 technology.

.Net Framework 3.0 consists of the .Net Framework 2.0, WCF (Windows Communication Foundation), WPF (Windows Presentation Foundation), WF (Windows Workflow), and InfoCard—now known as WCS (Windows CardSpace) as part of the renaming scheme.

S. "Soma" Somasegar, corporate vice president of Microsofts developer division, said the move to rename WinFX was taken to avoid any confusion in the naming scheme for Microsofts core developer technology, but that the renaming will have no impact on the delivery schedule of the .Net Framework, the next major version of Visual Studio known as "Orcas," Vista, or Office 2007.

It is purely a branding change, company officials said.

The gist of the issue is that Microsoft has two successful developer brands in WinFX and .Net, and the company has seen 320,000 downloads of WinFX—and 700 signed GoLive licenses—since the December Community Technology Preview, and more than 35 million downloads of the .Net Framework since the November launch.

.Net has been successful and on its own trajectory, and Microsoft expects WinFX to see the same kind of adoption.

With early adopters the branding strategy has been pretty clear; however, Microsoft officials said they believe that as WinFX gets out of pre-release and goes mainstream, it may confuse developers as to which framework to build on and which tools to use.

/zimages/2/28571.gifClick here to read more about .Nets shifting framework.

So Microsoft has decided to coalesce around the older and more established of the two brands, the .Net Framework, and rechristen "WinFX" as .Net Framework 3.0, because the company has long maintained that WinFX is the next version of the .Net Framework.

In a blog post June 9, Somasegar wrote: "When speaking to developers about WinFX one question that repeatedly comes up is, WinFX sounds great, but what happens to .Net? .Net Framework has become the most successful developer platform in the world. Developers know and love .Net."

Moreover, Somasegar said, "The .Net Framework has always been at the core of WinFX, but the WinFX brand didnt convey this... The brand also created an unnatural discontinuity between previous versions of our framework and the current version. "

Therefore, to address the issue, Microsoft decided to re-brand its technology.

".Net Framework 3.0 aptly identifies the technology for exactly what it is—the next version of our developer framework," Somasegar said.

Somasegar reiterated that "the change is in name only and will not affect the technologies being delivered as part of the product.

"The .Net Framework 3.0 is still comprised of the existing .Net Framework 2.0 components, including ASP.Net, WinForms, ADO.Net, and the CLR, as well as new developer-focused innovative technologies in WPF, WCF, WF and WCS."

The .Net Framework 3.0 will still ship with Windows Vista, and will be available down-level for Windows XP and Windows Server 2003 as planned.

Meanwhile, in a separate blog post from June 8, Somasegar announced the availability of the beta version of the MSDN Wiki—the companys first step toward allowing customers to contribute to Microsofts developer documentation.

"In the MSDN Wiki beta, you can add code samples and content directly alongside the Visual Studio 2005 and the .Net Framework 2.0 documentation in a Community Content section that we have added to each documentation topic," Somasegar said.

Somasegar said this is the first step in an ongoing evolution of Microsoft developer documentation, making the companys development process more transparent.

IBM said it plans to embark on a similar process with its "Open Commercial Development" Strategy.

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