To some, Windows Vista is Microsoft's most secure operating system ever. To others, it's the most Mac-like. But from a developer standpoint, it's the first proving ground for Microsoft's new family of managed programming interfaces that have been under development for the past five years.
As far back as October 2003 at the Microsoft Professional Developers Conference in Los Angeles, the Microsoft message about the upcoming operating system—then known as Longhorn—was that the platform would have a heavy developer focus.
Microsoft set out to "renew the developer opportunity" with the new operating system, which meant making native Win32 API improvements that developers had been asking for, as well as adding a new, managed API set that went deep with presentation, communications and other support, said Jim Allchin, former co-president of the Redmond, Wash., company's Platforms & Services Division.
That API set, which was initially known as WinFX and later became .Net Framework 3.0, consists of Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF, formerly known as Avalon), Windows Communication Foundation (WCF, formerly known as Indigo), Windows Workflow Foundation and CardSpace (formerly known as InfoCard).