The .NET Framework is Microsoft's platform for building applications that have visually stunning user experiences, seamless and secure communication, and the ability to model a range of business processes. The .Net Framework consists of:
- Common Language Runtime – provides an abstraction layer over the operating system
- Base Class Libraries – pre-built code for common low-level programming tasks
- Development frameworks and technologies – reusable, customizable solutions for larger programming tasks
By providing you with a comprehensive and consistent programming model and a common set of APIs, the .NET Framework helps you to build applications that work the way you want, in the programming language you prefer, across software, services, and devices.
Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF) provides a unified framework for building applications and high-fidelity experiences in Windows that blend together application UI, documents, and media content, while exploiting the full power of the computer. WPF offers developers support for both 2D and 3D graphics, hardware accelerated effects, scalability to different form factors, interactive data visualization, and superior content readability. Further, with a common file format (XAML), designers can become an integral part of the development process by working alongside developers in a workflow that promotes creativity while maintaining full fidelity.
Silverlight, a runtime that contains a subset of the .NET Framework, helps developers expand their reach by providing a cross-browser, cross-platform, and cross-device plug-in for delivering the next generation of .NET-based media experiences, advertising and rich interactive applications (RIAs).
ASP.NET is a free web framework that enables great Web applications. Used by millions of developers, it runs some of the biggest sites in the world.
Visual Studio 2010 is packed with new and enhanced features that simplify the entire development process from design to deployment. Customize your workspace with multiple monitor support. Create rich applications for SharePoint and the Web. Target multiple versions of the .NET Framework with the same tool. Eliminate the dreaded "no repro" problem with IntelliTrace. And much more.
SQL Server 2008
The code base for MS SQL Server (prior to version 7.0) originated in Sybase SQL Server, and was Microsoft's entry to the enterprise-level database market, competing against Oracle, IBM, and, later, Sybase. Microsoft, Sybase and Ashton-Tate originally teamed up to create and market the first version named SQL Server 1.0 for OS/2 (about 1989) which was essentially the same as Sybase SQL Server 3.0 on Unix, VMS, etc. Microsoft SQL Server 4.2 was shipped around 1992 (available bundled with IBM OS/2 version 1.3). Later Microsoft SQL Server 4.21 for Windows NT was released at the same time as Windows NT 3.1. Microsoft SQL Server v6.0 was the first version designed for NT, and did not include any direction from Sybase.
About the time Windows NT was released, Sybase and Microsoft parted ways and each pursued their own design and marketing schemes. Microsoft negotiated exclusive rights to all versions of SQL Server written for Microsoft operating systems. Later, Sybase changed the name of its product to Adaptive Server Enterprise to avoid confusion with Microsoft SQL Server. Until 1994, Microsoft's SQL Server carried three Sybase copyright notices as an indication of its origin.
Since parting ways, several revisions have been done independently. SQL Server 7.0 was a rewrite from the legacy Sybase code. It was succeeded by SQL Server 2000, which was the first edition to be launched in a variant for the IA-64 architecture.
The current version of SQL Server, SQL Server 2008 was released (RTM) on August 6, 2008 and aims to make data management self-tuning, self organizing, and self maintaining with the development of SQL Server Always On technologies, to provide near-zero downtime. SQL Server 2008 also includes support for structured and semi-structured data, including digital media formats for pictures, audio, video and other multimedia data. In current versions, such multimedia data can be stored as BLOBs (binary large objects), but they are generic bitstreams. Intrinsic awareness of multimedia data will allow specialized functions to be performed on them. According to Paul Flessner, senior Vice President, Server Applications, Microsoft Corp., SQL Server 2008 can be a data storage backend for different varieties of data: XML, email, time/calendar, file, document, spatial, etc as well as perform search, query, analysis, sharing, and synchronization across all data types.
Other new data types include specialized date and time types and a Spatial data type for location-dependent data. Better support for unstructured and semi-structured data is provided using the new FILESTREAM data type, which can be used to reference any file stored on the file system. Structured data and metadata about the file is stored in SQL Server database, whereas the unstructured component is stored in the file system. Such files can be accessed both via Win32 file handling APIs as well as via SQL Server using T-SQL; doing the latter accesses the file data as a BLOB. Backing up and restoring the database backs up or restores the referenced files as well. SQL Server 2008 also natively supports hierarchical data, and includes T-SQL constructs to directly deal with them, without using recursive queries.
The Full-Text Search functionality has been integrated with the database engine, which simplifies management and improves performance.
Spatial data will be stored in two types. A "Flat Earth" (GEOMETRY or planar) data type represents geospatial data which has been projected from its native, spherical, coordinate system into a plane. A "Round Earth" data type (GEOGRAPHY) uses an ellipsoidal model in which the Earth is defined as a single continuous entity which does not suffer from the singularities such as the international dateline, poles, or map projection zone "edges". Approximately 70 methods are available to represent spatial operations for the Open Geospatial Consortium Simple Features for SQL, Version 1.1.
SQL Server includes better compression features, which also helps in improving scalability . It enhanced the indexing algorithms and introduced the notion of filtered indexes. It also includes Resource Governor that allows reserving resources for certain users or workflows. It also includes capabilities for transparent encryption of data (TDE) as well as compression of backups. SQL Server 2008 supports the ADO.NET Entity Framework and the reporting tools, replication, and data definition will be built around the Entity Data Model. SQL Server Reporting Services will gain charting capabilities from the integration of the data visualization products from Dundas Data Visualization Inc., which was acquired by Microsoft. On the management side, SQL Server 2008 includes the Declarative Management Framework which allows configuring policies and constraints, on the entire database or certain tables, declaratively. The version of SQL Server Management Studio included with SQL Server 2008 supports IntelliSense for SQL queries against a SQL Server 2008 Database Engine. SQL Server 2008 also makes the databases available via Windows PowerShell providers and management functionality available as Cmdlets, so that the server and all the running instances can be managed from Windows PowerShell.