Welcome to .NET 4.5

With last month’s announcement of features and plans for .NET Framework 4.5 still settling in, we thought it was a good time to take stock of what information has come out and what issues are being discussed.

Microsoft has, of course, provided extensive documentation on the new features in 4.5, as well as the specifics for Visual Studio 11, ASP.NET and Web Development, C#, C++, and more. New features include multiple updates to CLR performance, a convention-based programming model that enables you to create parts based on naming conventions rather than attributes, asynchronous file operations, a new programming interface for HTTP apps, and new control with Windows Presentation Foundation.

Joshua Goodman, Director of Program Management for the .NET team, discusses how 4.5 is was developed and how it will be implemented in his keynote at Build 2011. Among the topics he touches on are why 4.5 is an in-place upgrade while still making additions to the core, how compatibly and performance are the two driving factors of rolling it out, and how it will play into the upcoming Windows 8 and Metro UI. He discusses how a subset of .NET was created for specifically for Metro apps, with the goal of providing a “simple, well-designed, and light-weight base class library API’s to C# and VB developers programming Metro-style apps.”

Brandon Bray wrote a blog post discussing .NET 4.5 compatibility, discussing their version testing and soliciting feedback. If you’re using the developer preview I highly recommend you submit any bugs and feedback you have.

Brandon also wrote a bit more recently about improvements to large object heap allocation. The two major improvement he notes are more effective use of fragments via the free list, and the runtime balancing LOH allocations between each heap.

Over at Developers’s Talk, they have really broken down the new features in 4.5 in a huge blog post. The topics include Asynchronously Reading and Writing HTTP Requests and Responses, request validation feature, support for WebSockets Protocol, Bundling and Minification, and just about any other major feature in the new release.

InfoQ is taking a measured approach to analyzing the new announcement and features, and noted the potential breaking changes of an in-place update. They consider unhanded/unobserved exceptions, the lack of System.Net.PeerToPeer.Collaboration, and a few other tweaks (WCF, WPF, XML/XSLT).

Meanwhile, pros such as Gunnar Peipman are digging right into the how-to’s of 4.5. Gunnar has already published posts on using model binding to display and update data.

Every major release of the .NET Framework means many hours of learning, re-learning, updating, and converting for devs, and now is the time to jump on the train. As always, we hope and expect the payoffs will be worth the effort!

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