An interesting series of events have taken place over the last few months in regards to the .NET Framework. Little signs are popping up that lead me to believe that VERY big things are on the horizon. Take a walk with me, and I'll show you the future of .NET:
- 5 January 2002: .NET 1.0 is released.
- 15 November 2002: The Shared Source Common Language Infrastructure 1.0 is released. This is the source code for the heart of the .NET implementation. It runs on Windows XP, FreeBSD, and Mac OS X 10.2.
- 23 March 2006: The Shared Source Common Language Infrastructure 2.0 is released. Support for other operating systems is conspicuously missing.
- 5 September 2006: Microsoft releases IronPython 1.0. A member of the IronPython team says: "Not only will we continue to drive IronPython forward but we're also looking at the bigger picture to make all dynamic languages deeply integrated with the .NET platform and with technologies and products built on top of it."
- 20 October 2006: John Lam, creator of RubyCLR (a project to get the dynamic-language project Ruby on .NET) is hired by Microsoft. His job? "Bringing dynamic languages to the .NET Framework."
- 16 November 2006: Microsoft releases a CTP bringing IronPython to ASP.NET. The download page has this telling bit of information: "The infrastructure is extensible to allow other dynamic languages to plug in as well."
- 4 December 2006: The first CTP of Windows Presentation Foundation Everywhere ("WPF/E") is released. Multi-OS support makes a triumphant return, with support for running on both x86 and PowerPC Macs.
- 8 December 2006: Jon Udell from InfoWorld announces he's joining Microsoft as an evangelist. In his "exit interview", he sites Jim Hugunin's efforts to make IronPython "A first-class citizen of the .NET platform." as a reason for taking the red pill.
- 31 January 2007: The February CTP of "WPF/E" is released. It includes support for both Safari and Firefox on OS X 10.4.
So, where am I going with all this? Well, I think 2 important things are on the horizon:
- First, I think the evidence is clear that Microsoft is close to putting together an extension to the .NET runtime to support dynamic languages.
- Second, I think that the multiple-OS support in "WPF/E" is a precursor to full-blown multi-OS support of the .NET runtime. If "WPF/E" is a subset of WPF, which is built on top of .NET 2.0, then why would Microsoft go through all that effort to make only part of the runtime compatible? If you've gotten the ball to the 8 yard line, wouldn't you take the risk and go for the touchdown?
Why go through all this trouble connecting the dots? Because MIX '07 is coming up, and if Microsoft was going to make any big announcements, they'd do it then for sure.
Anyway, that's just what I think. Anyone else heard any rumblings about this?