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Microsoft Rebrands WinFX

Lost in the hubbub last week over the pending retirement of Chairman Bill Gates, Microsoft quietly changed the name of a key set of technologies coming with Windows Vista.

WinFX was previously the overall name for a set of application programming interfaces (API) that support new features in Vista. It will now be called the .NET Framework 3.0.

"The Microsoft .NET Framework 3.0 (formerly WinFX), is the new managed code programming model for Windows," according to statements on the company's Web site. The reason for the change, said officials, was to lessen confusion over the relationship between .NET and WinFX.

"The .NET Framework has always been at the core of WinFX, but the WinFX brand didn't convey this," said S. Somasegar, corporate vice president of Microsoft's Developer Division, on his blog.

Although nothing has changed except the framework's moniker, it provides a set of important features, not the least of which is the .NET Framework 2.0. However, it also includes other important new capabilities.

These include the Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF), which provides Vista's new user interface and the Windows Communication Foundation (WCF), the company's architecture for building distributed applications. The two were originally code-named "Avalon" and "Indigo," respectively.

Also included in .NET Framework 3.0 will be the Windows Workflow Foundation (WWF), the programming model, engine and tools for building workflow-enabled applications, and Windows CardSpace, Microsoft's distributed identity technology which was recently renamed from InfoCard.

Beta 2 of .NET Framework 3.0 began shipping earlier this month. Download the beta here.

About the Author

Stuart J. Johnston has covered technology, especially Microsoft, since February 1988 for InfoWorld, Computerworld, Information Week, and PC World, as well as for Enterprise Developer, XML & Web Services, and .NET magazines.

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