A few months ago I did a .NET Web Product Roadmap blog post where I outlined some of the product plans we have to build on top of the web development features we’ve shipped with Visual Studio 2008 and .NET 3.5.
Over the next few months we will also be releasing a number of enhancements specific to client development as well. We have put a lot of effort into addressing some of the biggest areas of customer feedback, while also trying to really push the envelope on the capabilities developers have when building Windows applications. All of these improvements build on top of VS 2008 and .NET 3.5, and will make .NET client development even better going forward. Below is a roadmap of some of the upcoming releases we have planned for the months ahead:
Improved .NET Framework Setup for Client Applications
One of the biggest asks we’ve had over the years from customers and ISVs building client applications is to make the setup and installation of the .NET Framework easier and faster.
This summer we are going to ship a new setup framework for .NET that makes it easier to build optimized setup packages for client applications. This setup framework can be integrated with existing installation frameworks (for example: products like InstallShield), and enables a smaller and faster end-user setup experience of the .NET Framework.
Windows Forms and WPF client applications will be able to use this setup framework to cleanly “bootstrap” getting the .NET Framework installed onto machines. The setup “bootstrap” utility will support automatically downloading the minimal set of .NET Framework packages needed to enable .NET 3.5 client applications on a machine. For example, if a user already has .NET 2.0 installed on their machine, setup will be smart enough to automatically download only the upgrade patches necessary to update .NET 2.0 to 3.5 (and not have to re-download the components already provided by .NET 2.0). This will significantly shrink the payload size of client setup programs, and speed up the installation experience.
We’ll also be delivering improvements that enable a more integrated application install experience for both MSI and ClickOnce based solutions, and support a more consumer friendly user experience that is easy to build.
Improved Working Set and Startup Improvements for .NET Client Applications
One of the other common asks we receive is to enable .NET client applications to launch faster in “cold startup” scenarios. “Cold startup” scenarios occur when no other .NET client applications are running (or have recently run) on a machine, and require the OS to load lots of pages (code, static data, registry, etc) from disk. If you are loading a large .NET client application or library, or are using a slow disk, these cold startup scenarios can require many seconds for your application to start.
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