With Microsoft Corp.s recent announcements that it will separate WinFS from the next major release of Windows and the release of Visual Studio 2005, not due for another six months, developers are looking to third-party vendors for certain functionality support now.
And companies such as Infragistics Inc., Compuware Corp. and Borland Software Corp., each of which is readying new wares to aid enterprise developers, are eager to answer the call.
Infragistics, the publisher of reusable presentation-layer development tools, this week will release its NetAdvantage 2004 Volume 3. The package features support for the new look and feel of Visual Studio 2005, such as the Windows Forms tool bars, menus and tabs.
"This will enable you to develop applications today that have the look and feel of Visual Studio 2005," Infragistics CEO Dean Guida said in an interview last week.
The East Windsor, N.J., company will follow that release in December with the rollout of NetAdvantage 2004 for .Net Framework 2.0 Beta 1. In February, it will ship NetAdvantage 2005 Volume 1. And in March, the company will release full-featured NetAdvantage 2005 for .Net Framework 2.0 Beta 2, Guida said.
Meanwhile, Microsoft officials have said the Redmond, Wash., company will ship Visual Studio 2005 and .Net Framework 2.0 in the first half of next year.
According to Guida, within 45 to 60 days of that release, Infragistics will release its .Net Framework 2.0 tool set.
NetAdvantage 2004 Volume 3 is a complete tool set for developing user interfaces for Windows Forms, ASP.Net, Tablet PC and COM (Component Object Model), Guida said. The product also will feature a new calculation called the CalcEngine and XSLT (Extensible Stylesheet Language Transformations) rendering support for WebGrid.
Adam Taub, chief technology officer of Summit Software Inc., in New York, said Summit is a derivative and fixed- income real-time trading system provider. "A major portion of our system—the complete user interface—is based on .Net Windows Forms, and thats why we use the Infragistics components," Taub said. "One of the reasons we chose Infragistics was that they work so closely with Microsoft and have things available now and are on the cutting edge so that we know the things that well be able to use when we jump to Visual Studio 2005."
"One major consideration that helped us make the decision to use Infragistics is their commitment to .Net and the fact that their tools are built in .Net," said Natalie Kilner, CEO of Packaged Business Solutions Inc., of Concord, Calif. "Many of the other vendors in this market have tools that are COM-based with .Net wrappers. This means that you cannot take advantage of the .Net features such as ADO.Net.
"Most of the other vendors have caught up over the past few years, but with the release of .Net 2005 and the .Net Framework Version 2.0, Infragistics will be years ahead of the competition again," Kilner said.
Compuware will announce two new products down the road to complement its DevPartner Studio. The first of the products will enable developers to ensure that the applications they create are secure, company officials said. The new product, as yet not formally named, will perform security vulnerability analyses for applications being created in the ASP.Net environment.
The second product, also as yet unnamed, will be technology that "makes it very easy to simulate all the errors that could happen at run-time, but in an emulation mode," said officials in Detroit.
For its part, Borland is extending its recently announced SDO (Software Delivery Optimization), according to officials of the Scotts Valley, Calif., company.
"[SDO] is our vision for optimizing people, processes and information" and represents opportunities for Borland to partner with Microsoft, said Pat Kerpan, the companys chief technology officer.
In addition, Borland has announced a new version of its Delphi tool, code-named Diamondback, that will support .Net and an application life-cycle management tool called Together for Visual Studio. This tool supports UML (Unified Modeling Language).
Meanwhile, Bob Dever, a spokesperson for AmberPoint Inc., of Oakland, Calif., said AmberPoint, too, is "working closely with Microsoft in preparation for the VS 2005 release."
"In fact, that product will include a complimentary developers edition of our Web services management software," Dever said. "Weve already distributed AmberPoint Express in the box with the Beta 1 release of VS 2005."