ASP.NET 2.0 (Whidbey) is coming sometime in early 2005. The update to the .NET platform and tools is not insignificant. On the tools side, there are both new tools (e.g, Visual Web Developer 2005 Express) and a broad set of enhancements. On the platform side, there are numerous enhancements to the architecture and a host of new features that better facilitate development, deployment and maintenance. The overall sense is that MS has really tuned into developer needs and that Whidbey is going to be a big step forward. Some of my favorite new features are:
    * Master Pages, Themes, & Skins * Master Page Inheritance * Logical Site Model * Enhanced Web Parts Support * SQL Output Caching * Enhanced Intellisense * Design-time Expression Evaluation * Binary Web Application Distribution * New Admin Tools
My least favorite change is the de-emphasis of the code-behind. And I must ask... what the hell are they thinking here? In case you have not heard, the default model with ASP.NET 2.0 will be code-inline. My only thought here is that this is so, for the very same reason we have C# to Visual Basic code translators. The answer: people just didn't get it. MS had to dumb it down. Maybe I'm wrong on that one, but I can see no other reason. Code-behind achieves the web developer utopia of pure separation of code and presentation HTML. Code-inline is clearly a step backwards. The good news is that code-behind will still be there, you just have to select the right checkbox to get VS to generate the correct file and direct you there during the corresponding control clicks. For further reading, there are a lot of good articles out there about what to expect from .NET 2.0. An excellent starting point is a recent release on the MSDN website: Migrating from ASP.NET 1.x to ASP.NET 2.0.