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More Test Versions Released for SQL, Visual Studio, .NET

Microsoft this week posted new test versions of SQL Server 2005, Visual Studio 2005 and the .NET Framework 2.0. Visual Studio and .NET came out in Beta 2 versions. Tightly coupled with those public betas is a feature-complete SQL Server Community Technology Preview (CTP).

Microsoft bills the triple release as a deeply integrated development and data management platform.

A major element of the public beta is an addendum to the End User License Agreement for .NET 2.0 Beta 2. Now developers who create applications with Visual Studio 2005 for the .NET Framework 2.0 can put those applications into production, according to the EULA. Typically, EULAs for beta products prohibit production deployments.

Meanwhile, the SQL Server 2005 April CTP marks an official change in policy on the pre-release versions of the "Yukon" database. The Beta 3 release, expected last year and then in the first quarter of this year, is officially off the schedule. Instead, Microsoft will continue to release CTPs every six to eight weeks.

Microsoft previously released CTPs for SQL Server in December and October. The latest CTP made substantial changes to Reporting Services, but is now feature-complete and well-tested, says Tom Rizzo, a director for SQL Server.

"If you haven't started testing, start with the April CTP," Rizzo says. He draws a distinction between SQL Server CTPs and the alpha-like CTPs for the Avalon and Indigo developer technologies. "SQL Server CTPs are a different breed," Rizzo said. "They are high-quality products. They're not just some build we threw out on the Web."

Rizzo said Microsoft has not decided whether there will be Release Candidates for SQL Server 2005 or whether CTPs will fill that role as well. SQL Server 2005, Visual Studio 2005 and the .NET Framework are supposed to ship in the second half of the year.

About the Author

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

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