By Peter Coffee  |  Posted 2005-12-05 Print this article Print

When Microsoft Corp. rolls out a major tools release such as Visual Studio 2005, it isnt just equipping developers—its enlisting them.

Every Visual Studio release since the debut of this line has had a compound agenda: Its always offered developers an attractively paved path of least resistance that indubitably increased productivity, but has also fostered acceptance of Microsofts current strategic direction. Visual Studio 2005, launched last month, is no exception. Even the expanded and redesigned Start page of the Visual Studio 2005 environment is an express invitation to join a movement rather than merely to write an application.

This is not entirely a criticism, but it is a critical point for developers to understand when weighing their alternatives—not just in choosing tools but also in adopting future application models.

Next Page: A platform proposition.

Peter Coffee is Director of Platform Research at salesforce.com, where he serves as a liaison with the developer community to define the opportunity and clarify developersÔÇÖ technical requirements on the companyÔÇÖs evolving Apex Platform. Peter previously spent 18 years with eWEEK (formerly PC Week), the national news magazine of enterprise technology practice, where he reviewed software development tools and methods and wrote regular columns on emerging technologies and professional community issues.Before he began writing full-time in 1989, Peter spent eleven years in technical and management positions at Exxon and The Aerospace Corporation, including management of the latter companyÔÇÖs first desktop computing planning team and applied research in applications of artificial intelligence techniques. He holds an engineering degree from MIT and an MBA from Pepperdine University, he has held teaching appointments in computer science, business analytics and information systems management at Pepperdine, UCLA, and Chapman College.

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