Whidbey Beta Soon
The Whidbey Beta is coming out soon. Reportedly, it will be released in TechEd Europe next week. Also new, as reported by Neowin.net, is an Express version of Visual Studio, which is a cheaper, lite version for wider distribution.
The Visual Data Team has signed off on the a week ago and published the report on the web, but I always though that a beta release would require more lead time to get disks out to TechEd attendees.
I decided not to work with the Technical Previews, since I have encountered various problems with installation and missing templates.
The Beta version should be very stable, enough to use for development purposes as I expect the Longhorn and other teams will actually be dogfooding on top of it. It goes through the same bug triage process that the ultimate release version goes through.
Unlike the rest of the world, Microsoft Office and Windows are built using recent versions of compilers, not released versions. While this can cause discomfort to internal developers from unfinished and undertested features, it ensures a very reliable compiler when released.
I am considering moving my development work to the beta. This will actually make my product schedule dependent on the delivery date of Whidbey, unfortunately, but I will be able to take advantage of new productivity features early. I would also have to allow some time for external beta testing, one Whidbey ships.
Before I do that, I will test installation and stability on Virtual PC, and attempt to build and run all my projects, components, and unit tests. Whidbey and Everett IDE as well as the frameworks should be able to co-exist, just as the PDC preview. I won't be using the extended features of the language and runtime for about a month until I am sure there are no major bugs. This would allow me to revert back to Everett painlessly, if problems arise.
The Whidbey redistributable framework is negligibly larger than the Everett version (23.4mb versus 23.1mb). However, many users (reportedly, 70 million) already have the Everett framework installed from either existing .NET applications or from Windows Updates, whereas Whidbey has a near zero chance of having been previously installed.