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Visual Studio 2008, .NET 3.5 Reach Beta 2; Silverlight 1.0 Hits RC

No fewer than five major announcements in the development field are being issued by Microsoft this afternoon, the timing of which is by no means coincidental: On the top of the list, Beta 2 of Visual Studio 2008 — which is quickly losing touch with its old code-name “Orcas” — will be made generally available for download by this Friday, along with Beta 2 of .NET Framework 3.5.

But what developers have been itching to finally try is building applications for Silverlight – the company’s new cross-platform graphical front-end module – under the auspices of Visual Studio.

Beginning this week, testers can finally build Silverlight applications as VS 2008 projects, by means of a Silverlight add-in. This while the JavaScript-oriented Silverlight 1.0 is upgraded to Release Candidate status, and the second-generation Silverlight 1.1 for statically-typed languages such as C++, moves from the alpha stage to an official Community Technology Preview.

As Microsoft’s group program manager for the developer division, Prashant Sridharan, told BetaNews, the status of VS 2008 may be proceeding faster than anticipated. “We are pretty much in the endgame for Visual Studio 2008,” Sridharan told us. “It looks like right now we’re going to ship before the end of the year, barring any unforeseen circumstances. And this Beta 2 is the last major milestone before we finally ship the product.

“We’re on a very clear trajectory to ship [VS 2008] before the end of the year,” Sridharan continued, “barring any unforeseen circumstances, which usually are things like security errors or what we call data loss errors.” The development suite is perceived now as mostly feature-complete, and perhaps “before the end of the year” won’t mean New Year’s Eve.

If VS 2008 is “99% feature complete,” what’s the missing one percent? Sridharan says, it’s little things like disabled menu options – for instance, one which enables an open Web services project to reference the Windows Presentation Foundation library.

“You can do that today programmatically, through the command line, [or] in a bazillion ways,” he told us. “That one feature is not enabled in Beta 2, it’s little things like that. It’s nothing significant, nothing major. There are no features between Beta 2 and RTM, they are [other than] enabling certain menu items that are right now disabled.”

Microsoft, Announcement, Visual Studion 2008, VS 2008, .NET 2.5, Beta, Silverlight, RC, Codename, Orcas, Microsoft News

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