Gates Announces Beta 2 of Visual Studio .NET

ATLANTA -- Microsoft Corp. made the beta 2 version of Visual Studio .NET available Tuesday, and Bill Gates promised the final version will ship this calendar year.

Microsoft will pass out CDs containing Visual Studio .NET Beta 2 to attendees at the Microsoft TechEd 2001 developer show on Wednesday. It is available as an Internet download immediately.

The delivery meets a self-imposed deadline for giving Visual Studio .NET Beta 2 to attendees of the show, which began Sunday. After committing to delivering the beta version at the show several months ago, Microsoft had recently hinted that it might not have the code ready in time.

Visual Studio.NET is a key component of Microsoft's .NET Framework. Visual Studio.NET abstracts the process of making application components available as Web services and calling Web services other developers have published for use in home-grown applications. The underlying technology is XML and SOAP, but the developer suite is designed to allow developers already familiar with a language such as Visual Basic to stick to that language and allow the toolset to do the XML and SOAP work behind the scenes.

Microsoft chairman and chief software architect Bill Gates announced the general availability of the beta 2 version during his TechEd keynote Tuesday. Gates also committed to a 2001 delivery of the final version of the product.

"We are confident that that release will take place this calendar year," Gates said.

The beta is being used in production by Microsoft internally and at several customers sites. Scandinavian Airlines System (SAS) demonstrated a live airline reservation system built with Visual Studio .NET during Gates' keynote. Microsoft technical evangelist Ty Carlson pasted SAS' reservation service into another application in Visual Studio .NET onstage in order to demonstrate to the developer audience how Web-based services can be integrated into home-grown applications using Visual Studio .NET.

"Beta 2 is probably the most solid beta that we've ever seen," Gates declared.

Dave Mendlen, lead product manager for Visual Studio.NET, says the beta 2 version's stability stems from the feedback of internal teams using the product within Microsoft and beta testers who have been working with it for a year. Earlier versions of Visual Studio.NET were distributed to about 1 million developers. The beta 2 version is expected to reach 2.5 million developers, according to Microsoft.

In addition to Visual Studio.NET Beta 2, Microsoft on Tuesday announced the Microsoft Mobile Internet Toolkit Beta 2 and a UDDI Developer Edition.

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About the Author

Scott Bekker is editor in chief of Redmond Channel Partner magazine.


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