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Visual Studio 2008 SP1 Lands

So Visual Studio 2008 Service Pack 1 (SP1) is finally here. And as service packs go, VS08 SP1 is a pretty big deal.

The new bits do more than simply clean up flaws and holes in the shipping versions of Visual Studio and .NET Framework 3.5. As John Waters' story reveals, SP1 adds important new features, from innovative data-handling technologies to game-changing design-time tooling.

You could argue that calling this release a simple SP1 entirely understates the importance of the latest versions of Visual Studio and .NET Framework. Look no further than SP1's support for language integrated query (LINQ) and the ADO.NET Entity Framework (EF). These technologies promise to literally change the way developers work with data.

In fact, as Gartner Analyst Mark Driver noted, the EF introduces an object relational mapping (ORM) toolset to Microsoft-bound developers.
"It replicates what people like to do with Hibernate. LINQ to Entities is as close as you're going to get to Microsoft's ORM facility any time soon," Driver said.

Ultimately, the data and scalability improvements of SP1 could help make the .NET Framework enterprise-ready in the eyes of large development organizations. But Forrester Analyst Jeffrey Hammond has some misgivings about the pile-up of redundant tooling and resources that could complicate decision making for development managers.

"This richness of choices is something that can create confusion among developers," Hammond said, noting that developers can use the .NET client runtime, Silverlight 1.1 or 2, or the Web Parts Framework to build rich client interfaces. "Microsoft needs to continue to support developers to help them make the right choices among all the options they now have."

What are your impressions of VS08 SP1 and the updated .NET Framework 3.5? Are you planning to move to the new tooling soon? Let me know at [email protected].

Posted by Michael Desmond on 08/12/2008

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