Microsoft plans to offer developers a pre-release version of its next Visual Studio .Net platform, codenamed Whidbey, next month, planning to drum up interest in its next generation Longhorn operating system, due in 2006.
Whidbey will show off a new runtime model and various new application programming interfaces (APIs) that will be at the heart of all Longhorn applications. With both Longhorn and Whidbey extremely critical to Microsoft’s future, the company is being more cautious about their release than it has been with previous products, which saw one beta and then shipment. Whidbey has already had one pre-release, and a third, full public beta will follow this one in midyear, before product shipment in late 2004.
The main new concept in Whidbey and Longforn is managed code, which is implemented via the common language runtime (CLR), which encapsulates and application, handling low level functions such as memory management and security in order to reduce crashes and viruses.
The CLR also supplies the software libraries for accessing Windows functions, bringing together a host of APIs and languages that were previously handled separately and providing tight integration of tools and database.
SQL Server will integrate the CLR into its core database engine. The languages supported are Visual Basic, C++, C# and J#.
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