Microsoft Names Orcas

The actual first public mention came about by accident, but Microsoft has now made official the product name of the next Visual Studio: "Visual Studio 2008."

One of the engineers demonstrating new technologies during the keynote speech at Tech-Ed 2007 referred to the product by its new name, not realizing that the announcement released only a few minutes earlier had not yet been made public. The product, recently available as a beta 1, had been code-named "Orcas."

Visual Studio 2008 integrates all of the Vista development tools into the Visual Studio IDE for a smooth developer experience. It also provides important capabilities in the building of interactive Web applications, creating new Office applications, and providing better accessibility to data.

Any surprises with the name here? I didn't think so. Are you looking at any of the Visual Studio 2008 betas yet? Let me know at -- and check out my beta review in the upcoming July issue of Redmond magazine.

Visual Studio Becomes a Platform
In a somewhat more interesting vein, Microsoft announced that the Visual Studio platform, minus its languages, would be made available as a platform for tools and application integration as an extension of the Visual Studio Integration Program (VSIP) for partners. This platform will be freely available for development and come with a royalty-free distribution license.

There are two types of Visual Studio platforms, known as the Visual Studio Shell: The integrated Shell is able to combine seamlessly with existing and future Visual Studio installations, while the isolated Shell is a standalone toolset. The integrated version works well with tools and languages that are complementary to Visual Studio languages, and the isolated version works well with unique toolsets for specific vertical applications.

While the Visual Studio Shell is likely to be used primarily for development tools, in fact it can be applied to any application. Enterprises may also be interested in using it to integrate any custom development, testing or deployment tools within the application lifecycle.

Anyone familiar with the Java-based Eclipse certainly knows this model. If imitation is the best form of flattery, then both Eclipse and Visual Studio Shell must be filling an important need here.

Are you using Eclipse as an application or tools platform? Would you rather be using Visual Studio? Let me know at

Windows Communication Foundation Outperforms, Integrates with J2EE
On Monday, the Microsoft Connected Systems Division released the results of a benchmark study that showed that applications based on WCF Web services outperformed J2EE applications running on IBM WebSphere by as much as 285 percent.

Furthermore, Microsoft also did a cost analysis of the respective solutions, and determined that a .NET-only solution cost one-fifth of the analogous IBM Java solution.

During the course of this study, Microsoft engineers also found that there was a clean level of interoperability between the two application platforms. .NET ASP.NET pages could communicate seamlessly with Enterprise Java Beans (EJBs) and other back-end Java components, while Java Server Pages (JSPs) could work with back-end WCF-based Web services.

Details of this study and its results can be found in a PDF here.

The company will also be making available the source code of the benchmark for easy replication.

Do any of you combine both Java J2EE and Microsoft .NET in applications? Do you use .NET as the front-end client or the back-end business logic? Let me know at

Infragistics Announces Silverlight, Visual Studio 2208 Components
Leading UI components vendor Infragistics announced new controls for Microsoft Silverlight, ASP.NET 2.0 and ASP.NET AJAX.

This set of announcements also notes that Infragistics controls can be used with Visual Studio 2008. This was demonstrated to me at Tech-Ed, where the Infragistics controls were referenced by Visual Studio and worked seamlessly with Visual Studio features such as IntelliSense.

Do you currently use Infragistics controls in custom application development? Let me know at

About the Author

Peter Varhol is the executive editor, reviews of Redmond magazine and has more than 20 years of experience as a software developer, software product manager and technology writer. He has graduate degrees in computer science and mathematics, and has taught both subjects at the university level.


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