The next release of Visual Studio .NET is designed to drive .NET uptake, as it coincides with a major operating system launch from Microsoft Corp,writes Gavin Clarke.
Redmond, Washington-based Microsoft' yesterday released details of the much-talked-about Visual Studio .NET Everett. This next release of its integrated developer environment (IDE) is due in the first quarter of 2003. The delayed Windows .NET Server, meanwhile, is expected at the end of 2002.
The company has largely down-played new Visual Studio .NET's new features, which include bug fixes, increased performance and development of client-side mobile applications. "There's not a lot of new technology," Visual Studio .NET product manager Chris Flores told ComputerWire.
One source, though, told ComputerWire Everett has been timed with Windows .NET Server to drive up-take of the .NET application development environment. Microsoft hopes this first synchronization of its IDE with a Windows release will provide a springboard for development.
"Microsoft hasn't had enough developers upgrade to .NET. Microsoft wants more developers to upgrade. They want people to feel they have got version 2.0 because the company felt people are lagging behind," the source said. "It's an update drive." Microsoft was unable to comment at time of going to press.
Synchronicity will also exist between the post-Everett version of Visual Studio .NET and the next release of Microsoft's SQL Server database. Microsoft revealed a version of Visual Studio .NET previously code-named Whidbey is now called Visual Studio .NET for Yukon - Yukon is also the codename of the next planned version of Microsoft's SQL Server.
A beta version of Yukon is expected by the first half of 2003, and Flores said Visual Studio .NET for Yukon will ship in 2004.
Visual Studio .NET for Yukon will see integration between Microsoft's multi-language Common Language Runtime (CLR) and Yukon's data engine. CLR will not only let TSQL programming extensions execute inside the multi-language CLR but also permit non-TSQL-trained programmers to build stored procedures using more familiar languages such as Visual Basic, C/C++ and C Sharp
Flores said opening programming in SQL Server to non-TSQL developers would broaden the database's developer community. "We will dramatically widen the number of expert" developers, Flores said. "There's a lot of synchronicity between Visual Studio .NET and the new SQL product."
He added Microsoft would continue to differentiate its separate programming languages, not homogenize.
Visual Studio .NET Everett features include integration of the .NET Compact Framework and Smart Device Extensions. This allows developers to build client-based applications for Windows CE .NET, PocketPC and Windows cell-phone-based devices inside the suite.
Standards compliance is improved - Flores claimed C++ compliance with ANSI in the "high 90s" to simplify porting of code from Linux and Unix to Windows - and Microsoft has added Visual Basic forms-style for used by C++ programmers.
Visual J # .NET is available as an integrated language, having been available in download form, and there is support for latest web services, Flores said.