Microsoft rebrands WinFX as Net Framework 3.0

Microsoft has re-branded its WinFX technologies as .Net Framework 3.0 to clarify the naming convention for its developer framework, company representatives said on Friday.

.Net Framework 3.0 is planned for inclusion in Windows Vista, due out in early 2007. The framework features the Windows Communication Foundation Web services platform; the Windows Presentation Foundation presentation layer technology; Windows Workflow, for workflow; and the newly renamed Windows CardSpace, for identity management. CardSpace had been code-named InfoCard. Current .Net Framework 2.0 technologies, such as the CLR (Common Language Runtime), also are part of .Net Framework 3.0

"The .Net Framework has always been at the core of WinFX, but the WinFX brand didn't convey this," said S. "Soma" Somasegar, corporate vice president of Microsoft's Developer Division, in his blog (http://blogs.msdn.com/somasegar/default.aspx).

"The WinFX brand helped us introduce the incredible innovations," for workflow, Web services, and other new technologies, Somasegar said. However, the WinFX brand "also created an unnatural discontinuity between previous versions of our framework and the current version."

"With this in mind we have decided to rename WinFX to the .Net Framework 3.0. .Net Framework 3.0 aptly identifies the technology for exactly what it is -- the next version of our developer framework," Somasegar said.

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

Microsoft is making the right move with the re-branding, said Chris Howard, an analyst at Burton Group. "I think it's a good idea because .Net has good traction in the developer community," he said.

"In the past, Microsoft had problems [similar to]other companies with lots of branding. They need to consolidate those brandings under larger umbrellas," Howard said.

.Net Framework 3.0 technologies have been available in early, pre-release versions. "I would say the big advantage of the WinFX stuff is that it raises the level of abstraction for programmers and makes it easier to do complex things," such as Web services and building of UIs, Howard said.

Separately, Microsoft this week released a beta (http://msdnwiki.microsoft.com/en-us/mtpswiki/default.aspx) version of MSDN Wiki, described as the company's "first step towards allowing customers to contribute to Microsoft's developer documentation," Somasegar said in his blog.

With the Wiki beta, developers can code samples and content alongside Visual Studio 2005 and the .Net Framework documentation in a Community Content section.

"For the Visual Studio 'Orcas' time frame, we are looking into several possibilities of how to extend the wiki concept," a Microsoft representative said.

"We think of this as the first stage of an ongoing evolution of Microsoft's developer documentation," Somasegar said. "In this version, we are building a wiki around the Microsoft-provided docs by allowing you to add content and edit content distributed others. We want your feedback on where the project should go next."

The MSDN Wiki Team also has its own blog (http://blogs.msdn.com/msdnwiki/). The team notes that with the current site, users can add content and edit other people's contributions in a wikilike fashion around official Microsoft documents. Future plans call for enabling the editing of Microsoft-authored documents directly.

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