Microsoft has announced the availability of Microsoft Visual Studio 2010 Beta 2 and Microsoft .NET Framework 4 Beta 2 to Microsoft Developer Network (MSDN) subscribers.
The software giant on October 19 announced that beta 2 of both Visual Studio 2010 and the .NET Framework 4 were available to MSDN subscribers and that the technology would be generally available to the world at large on October 21. In addition to availability of the new beta versions, Microsoft announced a simplified product lineup and pricing options for Visual Studio 2010 as well as new benefits for MSDN subscribers, including what the is calling the Ultimate Offer, available to all active MSDN Premium subscribers at the official product launch on March 22, 2010.
Microsoft will shed more light on Visual Studio 2010, .NET Framework 4 and all of its other developer technologies at its upcoming Microsoft Professional Developers Conference (PDC) to be held in Los Angeles November 17-19.
With the Ultimate Offer, active MSDN Premium subscribers will be transitioned to a higher-level Visual Studio 2010 with MSDN subscription at launch. This provides access to an unprecedented amount of resources, including test and development rights for Microsoft server software (including Windows Server 2008 R2 and Microsoft SQL Server 2008), Microsoft Office, and premium Visual Studio tools.
"The 2010 wave is not only about innovation but about helping our customers get significantly more for their investments," said Dave Mendlen, senior director of developer marketing at Microsoft. "The Ultimate Offer and new MSDN subscriber benefits combine to give developers access to high-quality tools, training and community support while at the same time providing organizations with an immensely better value for their money."
Essentially, "if you decide to make a purchase before March 22, you will get the next higher version of Visual Studio at launch," Mendlen told eWEEK.
According to Microsoft:
"The Ultimate Offer is a promotion to help customers upgrade to Visual Studio 2010 while getting the most value possible. The Ultimate Offer is available to customers who have purchased the following products on or before March 22, 2010:??Ã Visual Studio Professional 2008 with MSDN Premium??Ã Visual Studio Team System 2008 Development Edition with MSDN Premium??Ã Visual Studio Team System 2008 Architecture Edition with MSDN Premium??Ã Visual Studio Team System 2008 Test Edition with MSDN Premium??Ã Visual Studio Team System 2008 Database Edition with MSDN Premium"
Meanwhile, S. "Soma" Somasegar, senior vice president of Microsoft's Developer Division, said developers should start checking out the new innovations in Visual Studio as the product nears final release.
"This is a big day for developers," Mendlen said. "This is the biggest release we've done in many years. And we've hit a key milestone with beta 2."
Indeed, new testing options in Visual Studio 2010 will help ensure quality code, Mendlen said. Enhancements to the integrated development environment (IDE) mean that whether modeling, coding, testing or debugging, developers can use existing skills to deploy a growing number of application types. Other key features include built-in tools for Windows 7 and Microsoft SharePoint 2010, new drag and drop bindings for Silverlight and Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF), and interoperability with innovative technologies -- such as those for the database, ASP.NET model view controller, unified modeling language, Expression, and multicore -- allow developers to bring their visions to life.
With the .NET Framework 4, developers can experience smaller deployments with an 81 percent reduction in the framework size when using the Client Profile. Other .NET Framework 4 developer benefits include additional support for industry standards, inclusion of the Dynamic Language Runtime for more language choice, new support for high-performance middle-tier applications -- including parallel programming, workflow and service-oriented applications -- and backward compatibility through side-by-side installation with .NET Framework 3.5, the company said.
"Developers face demanding, complex and fast-paced environments today; this next wave of tools and technologies will help simplify the development process from design to deployment and will enable developers to use their existing skills and knowledge to build better software, faster," Somasegar said. "Now is the time to test drive the new functionality and features in these releases, which address everything from Windows 7 and SharePoint support to collaboration and lifecycle management."
Somasegar said Microsoft is doing two primary things with the new release. "One is that we're delivering a modern IDE. Because developers spend so much of their time in the IDE, we want to make your experience productive. So we have a brand new editor and we have code-focused development features. The second thing we're doing it supporting all of our new platforms coming out of Microsoft, including Windows 7, Azure, SQL Server, SharePoint, etc."
Microsoft has also simplified the product lineup for Visual Studio 2010 and announced pricing details. In the next version, customers will be able to choose from three main versions of Visual Studio 2010:
"??Ã Microsoft Visual Studio 2010 Ultimate with MSDN. The comprehensive suite of application life-cycle management tools for software teams to help ensure quality results from design to deployment??Ã Microsoft Visual Studio 2010 Premium with MSDN. A complete toolset to help developers deliver scalable, high-quality applications??Ã Microsoft Visual Studio 2010 Professional with MSDN. The essential tool for basic development tasks to assist developers in implementing their ideas easily"
Pricing for the software starts at $799 for Visual Studio 2010 Professional to $11,924 for Visual Studio 2010 Ultimate with MSDN, according to Microsoft documentation on the new packaging.
"What we've heard from customers is the products is great, but there was some complexity in the way we offered it, so we wanted to look at how to simplify that packaging and make it easier for customers," Mendlen said.
In an FAQ on the new packaging, Microsoft said:
""After hearing from our customers, Microsoft decided to introduce a simplified SKU structure in Visual Studio 2010 which will make purchasing decisions more straightforward. Customers can expect greater value in their purchases of MSDN and Visual Studio 2010. Each level has benefits depending on the specific developer need. Going forward, customers will be able to choose from three main versions of Visual Studio 2010: Visual Studio 2010 Ultimate with MSDN, Visual Studio 2010 Premium with MSDN, or Visual Studio 2010 Professional with MSDN. We encourage developers to find more information on product specifics by visiting http://microsoft.com/visualstudio to find out which version of Visual Studio 2010 is best for their needs.""
In addition, Microsoft unveiled new benefits for MSDN subscribers, including:
"??Ã Unlimited access to Visual Studio Team Foundation Server 2010 (upon release), a server product that drives down the risks and costs of developing software by enhancing team collaboration??Ã Azure Development: MSDN Premium subscribers will be able to develop on the Windows Azure platform (Microsoft's cloud services platform) with compute hours, storage, data transfers, SQL Azure databases and .NET Services.??Ã Complimentary e-learning, up to 40 hours per year, per subscriber"
To help developers access the wealth of online resources in a more streamlined fashion, Microsoft has also updated the MSDN Web site, which now features an updated user interface, a faster version of the MSDN Library and more community resources.
Those interested can download Beta 2 at http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/default.aspx.
Meanwhile, for those developers currently using Visual Studio Team System, Microsoft said:
"Customers will find that Visual Studio Ultimate includes all of the concepts and capabilities of Visual Studio Team System. Visual Studio 2010 Ultimate provides a robust solution for ALM, including all role SKUs from Visual Studio Team System 2008, in addition to other significant innovations, including the following:??Ã New architecture tools (including new UML assets) that transfer your architecture from whiteboard to living assets??Ã New tools that enable testing teams to capture rich and actionable bugs at different points in time??Ã New testing tools that bring business users, test generalists and others into the process??Ã A world-class integrated development environment that enables the development across cloud, on-premises and multiple platforms??Ã With the highest level of MSDN subscription, all of Microsoft's server and client applications for development and test usage"