Microsoft Application Platform at a Glance

“To stay on the map you’ve got to keep showing up.” — Peter Gallagher

Periodically I create a map of the Microsoft application platform. Making the map helps me stay on top of the platform, identify potential changes to architecture and design strategies, and anticipate trends.  It also helps me figure out where to invest my time and energy.  It also helps me see potential customer confusion.

Here is my latest map of the Microsoft application platform by category:

Application Infrastructure

  • .NET Framework

  • Base Class Libraries (BCL)

  • Common Language Runtime (CLR)

  • Language Integrated Query (LINQ)

ALM (Application Life-Cycle Management)

  • Visual Studio Team System
  • Visual Studio Team Foundation Server

App Frameworks / Extensions

  • Enterprise Library
  • Managed Extensibility Framework (MEF)


  • Windows Azure
  • Windows Azure DataMarket (“Dallas”)
  • Windows Azure Tools for Microsoft Visual Studio
  • App Fabric
  • SQL Azure

Collaboration / Integration / Workflow

  • Windows Workflow Foundation (WF)
  • Microsoft Office SharePoint Server (MOSS)
  • Microsoft BizTalk Server

Data Access

  • ADO.NET Core
  • ADO.NET Entity Framework
  • ADO.NET Sync Framework
  • LINQ to SQL
  • OData
  • WCF Data Services
  • WCF RIA Services

Database Server / Storage

  • SQL Azure
  • SQL Server
  • SQL Server Compact


  • WPF (Windows Presentation Foundation)
  • Silverlight (Out-of-Browser)
  • Windows Forms

Developer Tools

  • Microsoft Visual Studio
  • Microsoft Expression Studio
  • Microsoft Visual Studio Express
  • Microsoft Visual Studio LightSwitch
  • Microsoft Visual Studio Team Foundation Server


  • XNA
  • D3D
  • Win32


  • WIF (Windows Identity Foundation) (Geneva)
  • Active Directory Federation Services (Geneva Server)
  • Card Space


  • Common Language Runtime (CLR)
  • Dynamic Language Runtime
  • Visual Basic
  • Visual C#
  • Visual C++
  • F#
  • Iron Python
  • IronRuby


  • LINQ to Entities
  • LINQ to SQL
  • LINQ to XML
  • LINQ to DataSet
  • LINQ to Objects


  • Systems Center Operations Manager (SCOM)


  • Office 2010
  • Visual Studio Office Development Projects
  • Office 2010 PIA (Primary Interop Assemblies)


  • F#
  • Parallel Extensions for .NET
  • Task Library


  • Silverlight for Windows Phone
  • XNA Framework
  • Windows Phone Developer Tools


  • Windows Communication Foundation (WCF)
  • WCF Data Services (ADO.NET Data Services, Astoria)
  • WCF Web APIs
  • WCF RIA Services
  • ASP.NET Web Services (ASMX)


  • SharePoint Server


  • ASP.NET Web Forms
  • ASP.NET Web Pages (WebMatrix)
  • Silverlight
  • CSS
  • HTML / HTML 5.0
  • Internet Explorer
  • JavaScript (Jscript) / JavaScript (as of IE 9)

Web Server

  • Internet Information Services (IIS)
  • IIS Express
  • Web Farm Framework

Windows Server

  • Windows Server
  • Windows Server App Fabric (Dublin + Velocity)

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