Introducing AppFabric

AppFabric is a new feature from Microsoft that has recently been released in Beta format. It allows devs to write cloud apps as if they were working on the desktop. AppFabric is an app server that runs in the cloud. It can do thing like providing caching services.

AppFabric is a part of Azure. As you may know, Azure is Microsoft's entry into the cloud services arena. Azure is also in beta. It provides an entire platform for developers. You know this is no joke as Amazon has released an SDK for its EC2 cloud service that targets .NET development.

Silverlight 3

Microsoft has released Silverlight 3. This is a technology for web presentation. Silverlight has come a long way since its inception. First it melded HTML and video in version 1. Then it included .NET in version 2.

Version 3 brings many enhancements. You have 3D graphics as well as shading. There is support for themed apps. You have support for SEO.

The goal is to bring desktop style apps to the web. You need to know your XAML to work with this tech. If you want to put video on the web and do it well, you need Silverlight 3. And it will get taken to an even higher level with Silverlight 4.

Business Productivity Online Suite

Do you know what BPOS stands for? It is Microsoft's Business Productivity Online Suite. This is their software as a service offering.

BPOS has Exchange, SharePoint, and Live Meeting. The cost is $10/month/seat. Users get 25GB of e-mail space.

Competitors include Novell GroupWise and Google Apps. I don't know whether $120 a year is a good deal for such a service. It seems a bit high. Both my company and main customer have workstation based Microsoft Office. Their license fees are probably $120 per person until we upgrade.

Visual Studio Mono Tools

Novell has announced a commercial add-on to Visual Studio called Mono Tools. It allows you to develop applications for non-Windows platforms using Visual Studio. For example you can target the Linux operating system.

Recall that Mono is an open source implementation of .NET for non-Windows platforms. It implements the Common Language Runtime (CLR) and C#. There will be some scenarios where Mono does not accurately mimic the .NET behavior. The Mono Tools for Visual Studio help you deal with some of these differences.

There are three versions of Mono Tools: (1) Professional, (2) Enterprise, and (3) Ultimate. The cost ranges anywhere from $100 to $2500. Although these are not Microsoft tools per se. Mono is a high visibility project. So I thought I would cover the Mono Tools here today.