In the shadows of the release of its major new server operating system, Microsoft Corp. last week also released a new version of its core application development environment.
The Redmond, Wash., company announced availability of Visual Studio .Net 2003, along with the availability of Version 1.1 of .Net Framework, which has been added to the Windows Server 2003 operating system.
The new version of Visual Studio features new support for devices, via .Net Compact Framework, that enable developers to create applications for a range of mobile and wireless devices, officials said.
Microsoft also announced enhancements to its Visual Studio .Net Integration Program and .Net Component Builder Program, as well as enhancements to MSDN (Microsoft Developer Network) to make it easier and faster for developers to find resources. New MSDN features include five Developer Centers, including ones for the .Net Framework, Visual Basic and Really Simple Syndication feeds.
Ari Bixhorn, lead product manager for Visual Studio .Net, said Microsoft is doing a lot with community building and outreach around the product, including making up to 90 percent of the core Visual Studio .Net development team available to developers via online newsgroups and online forums.
Jon Rauschenberger, a developer with Clarity Consulting Inc., in Chicago, said among the better features in the new version is the "Framework getting baked into Windows Server 2003. There are lots of minor technical advantages, but the biggest value we see in it is changing the perception of the Framework as something thats bolted on top of the OS to a core service provided by the OS."
Meanwhile, several Microsoft partners announced support for the new development platform, including Borland Software Corp., Compuware Corp. and NetManage Inc.
Visual Studio .Net 2003 comes in three versions, Professional, Enterprise Developer and Enterprise Architect, and lists for $1,079, $1,799 and $2,499, respectively. Upgrades cost $549, $1,079 and $1,799, respectively.
For more on Windows Server 2003, see our special section.