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The .NET Framework 4.5 Beta is Exciting, Too

We're all excited, and rightly so, over the release of the Visual Studio 11 beta. (See our March cover story for more on VS11's powerful new features). But that's really only part of the story. The next-generation .NET Framework -- version 4.5 -- is out in beta, too. I think in all the hype and hoopla over VS11 and the Windows 8 Consumer Preview, the news about .NET has been mostly lost. That's a shame.

.NET 4.5 is pretty exciting in its own right, and has its own subset of tools for building Metro-style apps: the .NET APIs for Metro-style apps. Microsoft has a very nice guide in its Dev Center for understanding the differences between developing for Metro apps and traditional Windows apps, including one biggie: the difference in namespaces.

Beyond Metro, there are a host of other upgrades as well. Some of the more prominent ones include:

  • Background just-in-time (JIT) compilation, to improve application performance on multi-core processor machines

  • New features for the Managed Extensibility Framework (MEF), including support for generic types and multiple scopes

  • New asynchronous features for C# and Visual Basic which add a task-based model for performing asynchronous operations

  • More HTML5 and JavaScript support

  • Big upgrades to WPF, including better data validation and a new Ribbon control

  • Similar enhancements to WCF and WF

In reality, the list of changes is much to large to summarize here. Suffice it to say, though, that the .NET Framework has improvements for every Microsoft developer, whether or not you work on traditional apps or develop on ASP.NET, Windows Phone or other mobile devices. Once you get over your thrill at the huge changes in VS11, spend some time with .NET Framework 4.5. You may find yourself just as excited.

Posted by Keith Ward on 03/01/2012

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