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Visual Studio .NET Launch Set for February

Bill Gates this week unveiled a February launch date for Visual Studio .NET, Microsoft's flagship tool to allow developers to create its much-hyped Web services-based applications.

Gates, Microsoft's chairman and chief software architect, told a Comdex crowd in Las Vegas that Visual Studio .NET will launch Feb. 13 at the VSLive! Conference in San Francisco.

Since TechEd in June, Microsoft has been promising to finish work on Visual Studio .NET this calendar year. A February launch date is consistent with meeting that goal because the software giant usually needs a few months to package and distribute final code.

Microsoft's last major step toward delivering on its Visual Studio .NET schedule came late last month when it distributed release candidate versions of the software to developers at its Professional Developers Conference in Los Angeles.

Dwight Davis, an analyst with Summit Strategies, says Microsoft appears to be doing a good job of synchronizing the releases of the many components necessary to enable the Web services-based applications the company is promoting.

"Microsoft is just sort of getting all its ducks in order for this whole Web services realm. It's got Windows XP out there, serving to proliferate some of the core technologies that it will build Web services upon," Davis says. "It's getting tools out there."

Davis notes that Microsoft is also getting close with its Windows .NET Server family of operating systems, which will include the .NET Framework. "When you create a service, you need a server to ship the services on." Microsoft unveiled that its servers this month will enter Beta 3 testing, the final round of testing before the release candidate stage.

Like Visual Studio 6.0, its predecessor, Visual Studio .NET is a rapid development tool tuned for building Windows applications. However, the new version integrates support for Microsoft's .NET Framework and Microsoft wants developers to use it to build XML Web services and applications. The .NET-ification of the tool translates to support for multiple programming languages and automated handling of common programming tasks.

About the Author

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

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