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So many toys to play with

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Now looks like a great time to be a developer, with a whole raft of exciting new technologies coming out such as Atlas, WPF and XNA.

Atlas is Microsoft's AJAX framework for delivering rich web applications, and frankly just looks a whole lot of fun. Add on the fact that it's free and that you don't need ASP .NET to take advantage of the client framework, and there's no excuse not to give it a shot really.

The Windows Presentation Foundation, previously known as Avalon, is a component of the upcoming WinFX managed APIs for Windows. It provides support for extremely rich client applications using features such as vector graphics and hardware acceleration. For a cool example check out this chess game in 3D, which can be hosted within a web browser. (You'll need the Feb 2006 CTP of WinFX)

Will talks about XNA over on his blog, and it looks like an absolute godsend for PC and XBox 360 game developers. One component of it, XNA Build, is a tool for helping game studios manage the complexities of their game content builds. You can download a pre-release of XNA Build and see how it works with a game build, the Shared Source release of MechCommander 2. Hopefully this means we'll be seeing lots more Oblivions :-)

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