Ballmer then turned his attention to the .Net development platform, which he said had come a long way over the past few years. That point was underscored by Forrester Research, which found that more than 50 percent of developers were now using the .Net environment. Microsoft will also continue to support those developers on Win32, but Ballmer said .Net is 67 percent more reliable and has far greater performance than the Win32 environment. "For those of you in the audience who have not yet made the transition to the .Net Framework and platform, I encourage you to come across and enjoy the benefits that come with this," Ballmer said.Next year will bring the next update to the platform with Visual Studio 2005, while the next version of SQL Server, code-named Yukon and also due in 2005, will build in the .Net programming environment. Click here to read more about Yukon. Ballmer also announced Visual Studio 2005 Team System, an expansion of the Visual Studio product line that will include a suite of extensible lifecycle tools that enable members of an IT organization to collaborate on delivering service-oriented applications designed for operations. This will bring new capabilities for group development, modeling and deployment. In a demonstration of this, attendees were shown the new technologies and the way these would bring a design framework for building service-oriented applications, allowing "designing for operations." The Visual Studio Team System includes integrated static analysis tools, as well as many of the tools developed internally as part of Microsofts Trustworthy Computing initiative, Ballmer said. In conclusion, Ballmer said Microsoft stood apart from its competitors like IBM and Linux on several main fronts. "We stand for more integrated innovation, better responsiveness and trustworthiness, partnership with the entire ecosystem and lastly, choice, more applications, more interoperability and more ability to integrate Windows into your environments. We will continue to work to earn your continued support," Ballmer concluded. Asked what he thought of the keynote presentation, a developer told eWEEK that it was the first one in four TechEd conferences that he had actually sat through. But that was more about Ballmers superb presentation skills and less about the content, which contained no surprises. "I am not drinking the Koolaid yet," he said. Check out eWEEK.coms Windows Center at http://windows.eweek.com for Microsoft and Windows news, views and analysis.
Oracle last week announced that it will be integrating its tool set into the Visual Studio Framework, while SAP and TIBCO have also done the same.