Microsoft Touts .NET Development Tools, Success Stories

Next revision of its flagship IDE announced at Visual Studio .NET conference; development tools vendor FMS and publisher Sybex announce .NET products

At its VSLive show in San Francisco, Microsoft Corp. introduced an updated version of its Visual Studio .NET development environment. The software giant also sought to ratchet up enthusiasm for .NET among developers, touting .NET customer success stories, along with a peek at a forthcoming major revision of Visual Studio .NET itself.

The Visual Studio .NET update is an incremental refreshing of Microsoft’s flagship integrated development environment (IDE), which debuted after a substantial overhaul in February 2002.

When it ships on April 24th—in tandem with the software giant’s Windows 2003 operating system—Visual Studio .Net 2003 will boast several enhancements, including the new “Java Language Conversion Assistant,” a facility for porting code from Java to .NET.

Visual Studio .NET 2003 is will also include several Web services enhancements, including a new ability to name Web services. For the first time it will include a UDDI repository. Microsoft also announced a deal with Pre-emptive Technologies Inc. to deliver code obfuscation technology for Visual Studio .NET that can facilitate encryption.

The software giant provided a peek at its next-generation release of Visual Studio .NET, which it code-named Whidbey. Whidbey, which is slated to ship in 2004, will be integrated with Microsoft’s forthcoming release of its SQL Server database, code-named “Yukon,” and will feature XML-related enhancements, new controls, and advanced editing features.

At VSLive, Microsoft announced public betas of its Visual Tools for Office and ASP.NET Starter Kits, a set of five free kits that are intended to help developers get quickly up to speed on writing for ASP.

The company touted several customer wins for .NET, including financial services firm Bear, Stearns & Co., Danske Bank, Verizon’s online directory, and charity organization the Anne E. Casey Foundation.

Microsoft said that Bear Stearns leveraged .NET to expose a stock order processing application running on an iSeries system to developers. As a result of its experience, Microsoft claims, Bear Stearns saved an estimated $250,000 over alternative solutions.

Finally, Microsoft trumpeted several .NET-related partner announcements, including additions to the Visual Studio .NET Integration Program by ISVs Borland Software Corp. and NetManage Inc. The software giant also sought to highlight .NET’s momentum, citing increased developer traffic on its .NET Code Wise Community, growth in its International .NET Association and a new Microsoft Certified Solution Developer certification for Microsoft .NET.

Other .NET-related Announcements

Development tools vendor FMS Inc. announced Total .NET SourceBook, a programming resource that provides access to tens of thousands of lines of code written in both Visual C# .NET and Visual Basic .NET. FMS says that code snippets from Total .NET SourceBook can be inserted royalty-free into Visual Studio .NET 2003 applications

Total .NET SourceBook provides a range of documented source code, tips and tricks to enable developers to more rapidly create applications for Microsoft’s.NET Framework with fewer errors. In addition, says FMS, developers can add their own code, tips, and snippets to the Total .NET SourceBook repository.

Publisher Sybex Inc. released Visual Basic .NET Developer's Handbook, a revised edition of its guidebook for Visual Basic developers. Visual Basic .NET Developer’s Handbook provides coverage of topics such as deploying XML Web services, creating ASP .NET applications and programming for mobile devices.

Sybex also announced .NET Framework Solutions: In Search of the Lost Win32 API, a new title that provides undocumented techniques for duplicating Win 32 API functionality within the Microsoft.NET Framework. Sybex’ new book claims to address functionality not included in the .NET Framework, including support for features such as direct hardware access and low-level security control.

About the Author

Stephen Swoyer is a Nashville, TN-based freelance journalist who writes about technology.