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Microsoft's next-generation of web development tools

» posted 4733 days ago @ 03:11 PM by George Merlocco in technology

Microsoft has definitely been at it lately, preparing a new suite of technologies to hopefully coax more designers and developers to use their tools while creating websites. Basically, everything is built on the ASP.net 3.0 Framework, and even v3.5 is out in beta (v3.0 just came out!). Although I am more of a web designer and I don't use VS.net/etc., my co-founder Justin, is definitely right on top of the developer world, and plans to dev with all of this new stuff. I'll have to get him to post more info about it, but basically Microsoft has released updated versions to a whole slew of it's products, including Visual Studio 2008, Expression Studio, .net 3.0, Silverlight, and LinQ, just to name a few ;)

Designers will most likely be interested in the Expression Studio, as it couples with Silverlight to allow you to create rich, multimedia presentations on the web that can talk to back-end services for retrieving/manipulating data. XAML is used as the bridge for passing data between the back-end/database and the front-end. Developers will be focused more on Visual Studio 2008, LinQ, and ASP.net 3.0/3.5, as well as AJAX.net v1.0. Each of these two distinctive categories of website development are broken down by Microsoft into two formats, WCF and WPF.

Windows Communication Foundation is comprised of all of the "developer" tools for compiling the back-end code, while Windows Presentation Foundation is built upon the front-end tools like Silverlight and Expression, to actually present the data to the user in a much more media-rich format. Silverlight is just like Adobe Flash, as it is a browser plugin (which works in Firefox BTW) that allows for motion graphics, but also lets you pull data from an ASP.net server and embed it right into the presentation. I believe you had to use ActionScript before if you wanted Flash to pull data from a server, and while that is probably a good way, Microsoft will surely not disappoint, as it has to stand up to that technology which already exists.

Thought I'd take some time to briefly explain what Microsoft has planned for the next step of their push, and if they keep leaning towards standards-based design with their tools, then I will surely have a closer look. FrontPage really turned me off, as it created the most bloated HTML code that I've ever seen. It's time for a change.

More information about some of the technologies I mentioned above can be found here:

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