At its recent BUILD event, Microsoft promised to quickly deliver a community test preview (CTP) build of its forthcoming ‘Roslyn’ compiler as a service (CaaS) product. Today it made good on that pledge.

The bits of code that were made available can be found here, at its Download Center. What is Roslyn? What is a Compiler as a Service? ZDNet has the best elevator-version of what we are looking at:

“The Roslyn effort is about re-architecting the C# and VB compilers to support “compiler as a service” (CaaS) scenarios. Currently, a compiler is a black box; with Roslyn, Microsoft is working on opening it up so that all of the information processed via a compiler is available in application programming interface (API) form.”

Did that help? In short, Microsoft is looking to make compiling a less obfuscated task, one that developers can interact with the data from. Once it is accessible in API-retrievable format, developers can dig into problems, and potentially look for places that they can speed things up.

However, if you are looking forward to Roslyn hitting the market, prepare to hold your breath. Microsoft calls Roslyn a “long lead project” that is set to be released in a “post-Visual Studio 11 timeframe.” Visual Studio 2011 is expected to land in 2012, so it could even be that Rosyln doesn’t land until 2013.

At this time, when a beta or later build can be expected is unknown. TNW Microsoft has reached out the company for comment, and will update this post upon hearing back.