Friday, 29 August 2008

Internet Explorer 8 beta 2 Released


Internet Explorer 8 beta 2 has just been released, you can get it from here:

http://www.microsoft.com/windows/internet-explorer/beta/default.aspx

This beta is being reccomended not just for developers, but regular web users too.

Some new features include:

Accelerators
Accelerators let you complete your everyday browsing activities more quickly and even discover new services. Start mapping, translating, emailing, and more in just a few mouse clicks.

Compatibility View
Internet Explorer 8's built-in Compatibility View button enables you to display websites that were designed for older browsers. Simply press the Compatibility View button if you see display problems on a website like misaligned text, images, or text boxes. It's located next to the Refresh button on the Address Bar.

Search Suggestions
Search smarter with detailed suggestions from your favorite search providers and browsing history. See visual previews and get suggested content topics while you type in the enhanced Instant Search Box.

Web Slices
Keep up with changes to the sites you care about most. Add a Web Slice and you won't have to go back to the same website again and again for updates on news, stock quotes, online auctions, weather, or even sports scores.

Smartscreen Filter
New security features help to protect you against deceptive and malicious websites which can compromise your data, privacy, and identity.

InPrivate Browsing
Keep Internet Explorer 8 from adding any sites you visit to Browsing History with InPrivate Browsing. Now you can shop for that special gift with confidence knowing your family won't accidentally find out.

I'll let you know if it replaces Firefox 3 as my private browser, but I wouldn't hold your breath :)

Monday, 11 August 2008

.NET 3.5 SP1 Released


Today .NET 3.5 Service Pack 1 was released by Microsoft.



Download links:

This is a significant Service Pack - it includes Dynamic Data which I'm personally very excited about and currently in development with (No more Virtual Machine development environment :) ) It also includes Data Services (codenamed Astoria) and the Entity Framework.

The overview page is here. - Check it out for a run down of the new exciting features - this isn't simply a bug fix rollup.

Details from Microsoft:

.NET Framework version 3.5 Service Pack 1 provides the following new features and improvements:
  • ASP.NET Dynamic Data, which provides a rich scaffolding framework that enables rapid data driven development without writing code, and a new addition to ASP.NET AJAX that provides support for managing browser history (back button support). For more information, see What’s New in ASP.NET and Web Development.
  • Core improvements to the CLR (common language runtime) that include better layout of .NET Framework native images, opting out of strong-name verification for fully trusted assemblies, improved application startup performance, better generated code that improves end-to-end application execution time, and opting managed code to run in ASLR (Address Space Layout Randomization) mode if supported by the operating system. Additionally, managed applications that are opened from network shares have the same behavior as native applications by running with full trust.
  • Performance improvements to WPF (Windows Presentation Foundation), including a faster startup time and improved performance for Bitmap effects. Additional functionality for WPF includes better support for line of business applications, native splash screen support, DirectX pixel shader support, and the new WebBrowser control.
  • ClickOnce application publishers can decide to opt out of signing and hashing as appropriate for their scenarios, developers can programmatically install ClickOnce applications that display a customized branding, and ClickOnce error dialog boxes support links to application-specific support sites on the Web.
  • The Entity Framework is an evolution of the existing suite of ADO.NET data access technologies. The Entity Framework enables developers to program against relational databases in according to application-specific domain models instead of the underlying database models. For more information, see Getting Started with the Entity Framework. The Entity Framework introduces some additional features, including support for new SQL Server 2008 types, default graph serialization of Entities, and the Entity Data Source. This release of the Entity Framework supports the new date and file stream capabilities in SQL Server 2008. The graph serialization work helps developers who want to build Windows Communication Foundation (WCF) services that model full graphs as data contracts. The Entity Data Source provides a traditional data source experience for ASP.NET Web application builders who want to work with the Entity Framework.
  • LINQ to SQL includes new support for the new date and file stream capabilities in SQL Server 2008.
  • The ADO.NET Data Services Framework consists of a combination of patterns and libraries, which enable data to be exposed as a flexible REST (Representational State Transfer)-based data service that can be consumed by Web clients in a corporate network or across the Internet. The ADO.NET Data Services Framework makes data service creation over any data source. A conceptual view model of the underlying storage schema can easily be exposed through rich integration with the ADO.NET Entity Framework. Services created by using the ADO.NET Data Services Framework, and also compatible Windows Live (dev.live.com) services, can be easily accessed from any platform. For client applications that are running on Microsoft platforms, a set of client libraries are provided to make interaction with data services simple. For example, .NET Framework-based clients can use LINQ to query data services and a simple .NET Framework object layer to update data in the service.
  • Windows Communication Foundation now makes the DataContract Serializer easier to use by providing improved interoperability support, enhancing the debugging experience in partial trust scenarios, and extending syndication protocol support for wider usage in Web 2.0 applications.
  • The .NET Framework Data Provider for SQL Server (SqlClient) adds new support for file stream and sparse column capabilities in SQL Server 2008.