Microsoft Corp. has made it easier for developers to gain entrance into its online developer community and access to various programming tools.
The Redmond, Wash., software giant on Monday announced two new subscription levels for its Microsoft Developer Network, or MSDN.
The new levels—which bring the total number to five—are the Professional and Enterprise levels. Both are less expensive and less comprehensive than the top-of-the-line Universal level but are costlier and more substantial than the Operating Systems and Library levels.
Sam Henry, product manager for MSDN, said the company expects the largest amount of interest in the midrange Professional level.
"This is the level that has the greatest potential," Henry said. "Generally, this is a guy who writes programs who works as an individual or with smaller groups. There are millions and millions of Professional-level guys out there. A lot of the guys have bought Universal. The Professional is for the guy who is having a little of a hard time getting up to Universal."
The goal of MSDN is to give developers the tools and information they need to build XML (Extensible Markup Language) Web services on the .Net platform.
The key advantages of MSDN to developers, Henry said, is that members get various Microsoft tools and priority access to such new releases as Windows XP and Visual Studio.Net. Also, they get upgrades when they become available.
Above the Operating Systems level, the Professional level—at $1,199 for an initial price, or $899 for renewal—includes Visual Basic.Net, Visual C++.Net and Visual C#.Net. The Enterprise level includes all that plus performance, load and functional testing tools, enterprise frameworks and templates, Visual Source Safe, Visual FoxPro and .Net enterprise servers, including SQL Server, Commerce Server, Exchange Server and Host Integration Server.
The Enterprise subscription costs $2,199 for an initial fee and $1,599 for renewal.
The new subscription levels are available now.