Microsoft has introduced its new application development tool, Visual Studio .Net, with few bells and whistles, letting market momentum speak for itself.
More than 3 million developers are testing and deploying applications with early release versions of Visual Studio .Net and the .Net Framework, the largest testing group in the company's history, according to Microsoft. Major corporate customers have already created Web-based applications for customers using the new tools.
"Today is a major step forward in letting people build applications based on the next-generation Internet," Bill Gates said, addressing a packed hall at its VSLive! developer conference in San Francisco earlier this month.
At Microsoft's campus in Redmond, Washington, Visual Studio .Net is being called the company's most important set of development tools to date, providing the basis for turning software applications into services as part of the .Net initiative.
Straying from its typical two-year release cycle, the latest incarnation of Microsoft's application development environment has been in the making for more than three years. New features will allow developers to write applications using more than 20 different programming languages that can run on computers ranging from cell phones to servers and interact with applications written for virtually any computing platform, according to Microsoft.
"The .Net Framework has been architected from the ground up," said Nick Abbott, product manager for developer products at Microsoft Australia. "Things like scalability and security and Web services weren't just add-ons to our old product; they were included as a design consideration from day one."
But more important than Microsoft's tools for building new .Net applications is the final release of the .Net Framework, the technology that will allow these new applications to run on computers, servers and various computing devices such as handhelds.
The .Net Framework is comprised of a
runtime environment called the Common Language Runtime, class libraries, a graphical user interface and other basic features. Because it includes various chunks of already-developed code considered the basic plumbing of applications, developers programming with the .Net Framework are expected to reduce the time and labour it takes to build applications from scratch or rebuild existing applications.
In addition to the version for PCs and servers now released, Microsoft will release a compact version of the .Net Framework later this year for developing applications and services for small devices such as handheld computers.
Visual Studio .Net comes in three flavours. The full version of the Professional edition has an RRP of $A2308.90, while an upgrade will set you back $1153.90. The Enterprise Developer edition, for development teams building enterprise applications, costs $3848.90, or $2308.90 for an upgrade. Finally, the Enterprise Architect Edition, for building large-scale applications, has an RRP of $5388.90, or $3848.90 for an upgrade. All prices are GST inclusive.
The product will be launched in Australia this week at Melbourne's Crown Towers on Tuesday, February 26 and the Australian Technology Park in Redfern, Sydney on Thursday, February 28.
Microsoft launch gathers in partners
More than 190 add-in tools and features from third-party vendors are available for VS .Net.n Compuware will profile a new code-profiling tool called DevPartner Profiler, which measures the execution time of code at the line level. It is fully integrated with the Visual Studio .Net Integrated Development Environment and is available as a free download from Compuware's Web site.
Mercury Interactive has announced the integration of LoadRunner and Astra LoadTest with Visual Studio .Net. The two products allow developers to test applications written in Visual C++ .Net, Visual Basic .Net and Visual C# .Net.
Borland Software plans to target .Net developers with new versions of its developer tools later this year that contain added support for .Net technology.
Macromedia has announced it will create a version of its Dreamweaver UltraDev Web development tools for .Net.
Rational Software has released a range of development tools and resources aimed at speeding up .Net development.
Fujitsu has released a .Net supported version of its COBOL developer and compiler.
Crystal Decisions will bundle a special .Net version of Crystal Reports with Visual Studio .Net.