Microsoft’s David Boschmans reveals that the March Community Technology Preview of the upcoming Orcas release of Visual Studio is now available from the Microsoft Download Center. The download overview has a list of what’s new in the March CTP, but the major highlights to my mind are:
Since these were the anticipated big ticket items, it looks like Orcas is really coming together but no specific date has yet been set for its release. For a nice overview of Orcas, see Scott Guthrie’s recent presentation.
Amanda Silver at the Visual Basic Team Blog:
I’m very excited to announce that the next tech preview of Visual Basic 9.0 which includes support for Language INtegrated Query (codename LINQ) and XML integration atop the XLinq API is now available on the VB Future and the LINQ project websites. This is the result of a ton of hard work for a significant portion of the team and we’re very happy to get it out to you.
This is an additive release to that which came out in the PDC timeframe. It expands the XML integration in both the language and IDE, provides some editor features for the LINQ syntax, and enables DLinq for VB.
In addition to the Q&A I mentioned yesterday when it was unveiled at PDC05, Barry Gervin has a long list of resources for Language Integrated Query (LINQ). Amongst the wealth of material is an overview paper by Don Box and Anders Hejlsberg:
After two decades, the industry has reached a stable point in the evolution of object oriented programming technologies. Programmers now take for granted features like classes, objects, and methods. In looking at the current and next generation of technologies, it has become apparent that the next big challenge in programming technology is to reduce the complexity of accessing and integrating information that is not natively defined using OO technology. The two most common sources of non-OO information are relational databases and XML.
Rather than add relational or XML-specific features to our programming languages and runtime, with the LINQ project we have taken a more general approach and are adding general purpose query facilities to the .NET Framework that apply to all sources of information, not just relational or XML data. This facility is called .NET Language Integrated Query (LINQ).
We use the term language integrated query to indicate that query is an integrated feature of the developer’s primary programming languages (e.g., C#, Visual Basic). Language integrated query allows query expressions to benefit from the rich metadata, compile-time syntax checking, static typing and IntelliSense that was previously available only to imperative code. Language integrated query also allows a single general purpose declarative query facility to be applied to all in-memory information, not just information from external sources.
There’s also a video interview with Anders Hejlsberg and Dan Fernandez on Channel 9.
Note that while there are tech previews for release candidate versions of Visual Studio 2005 and the Visual Basic and Visual C# 2005 Express Editions, LINQ is avowedly a feature of Visual Basic 9.0 and Visual C# 3.0 which means Orcas, the next generation of Visual Studio beyond VS 2005.
The Language Integrated Query (LINQ) demo during the PDC demo was exciting. There was applause all around whenever different products were shown and different speakers were introduced, yet when the LINQ demo was shown there was a lot of talk within the crowd, oohs and aahs, and a bunch of OMG-this-is-cool’s. The attendee sitting next to me pulled out his notepad and started writing down everything he saw. After two hours of keynote before it, it was the only thing worthy to write down.
Finally, if you want to dig into the code, Jomo Fisher illustrates the Evolution of a C# Query—Step by step from C# 1.1 to LINQ.
Bill Gates’ keynote is still going on, but the press release is already out. Big themes:
- Office 12
- Windows Vista
- New Platform Technologies:
• The Language Integrated Query (LINQ) Project is a set of language innovations for the Microsoft .NET Framework that makes it simpler for developers to access data. LINQ comprises a set of language extensions to C# and Visual Basic® and a unified programming model that extends the .NET Framework to offer integrated querying for objects, databases and XML. LINQ enables developers to write queries for accessing data natively in C# or Visual Basic without having to use other languages, such as Structured Query Language (SQL) or XQuery.
• Windows Presentation Foundation “Everywhere” is a subset of the full Windows Presentation Foundation, a powerful platform-level presentation and display engine. Windows Presentation Foundation “Everywhere” enables the ubiquitous delivery of content-rich scenarios on different platforms and form factors.
More on LINQ in the Q&A.