Gates Offers Glimpse of VS Update, Everett

 
 
By Darryl K. Taft  |  Posted 2002-11-18
 
 
 

Microsoft Corp. recently gave developers a sneak peek at some of the latest Visual Studio .Net advances, which range from additional security to support for "generics" that ease coding.

Company Chairman and Chief Software Architect Bill Gates discussed in a speech the programming tool advancements, as well as the companys move toward standards compliance for programming languages at the Object-Oriented Programming, Systems, Languages and Applications conference, in Seattle.

Gates unfolded the road map for Visual C# .Net and Visual C++ .Net, both part of the upcoming version of Visual Studio .Net development environment. Gates also announced a new tool, code-named Everett, under development at Microsoft Research. Of Visual C++ .Net, Gates said new features will include performance improvements for floating-point operations, enhanced security as part of Microsofts Trustworthy Computing initiative and enhancements for Windows Form development.

For C# .Net, Microsoft is proposing new features in the language to be added to the European Computer Manufacturers Associations public standard for C#. Among the new features are support for generics, or templates, familiar in the C++ world, that make coding easier for developers; anonymous methods; iterators; and partial types, all of which ease the burden development, the company said.

Juval Lowy, president of IDesign Inc., in San Jose, Calif., called generics "a godsend." Lowy said all the new features in Visual C# .Net are targeted at making developers jobs easier, "but not all those features are equal. Generics is No.1 because it provides templates that save developers a lot of work."

Chris Maunder, administrator, designer and chief editor of The Code Project, an online repository for developer news and information, said, "From a developers point of view, the changes [to Visual C# .Net] would be mainly targeted toward improving code reuse and productivity. C# code can get a little unwieldy at times because of the need to explicitly type code to handle all types of data being processed."

Enhancing Everett

Upcoming features in C# .Net
  • Generics A form of C++ templates that facilitates the reuse of code
  • Iterators Software elements that repeatedly execute the same call on different objects
  • Anonymous methods An easier way to perform tasks using delegates
  • Partial types Enable developers to split code across multiple files
  • Used internally at Microsoft, Scout, a testing technology, enables developer teams at the company to locate and address areas of weakness or susceptibility in products, Microsoft said. Scout relies on a series of tests of each product to winnow out defects in products under development at the company.

    Meanwhile, Gates also touted Microsofts adherence to the International Organization for Standardizations C++ standard. Company officials said the Everett release will be 98 percent compliant with the standard.

    Microsoft has taken heat from parts of the developer community for its reluctance to comply more fully with the ISO C++ standard. Some continue to wonder what Microsofts moves will mean. "We heard loud and clear that ISO standards conformance is important to C++ developers," said David Lazar, Microsofts group product manager for Visual Studio .Net.

    However, Simon Phipps, chief technology officer at Sun Microsystems Inc., seems doubtful. "Its good to see that Microsoft is finally getting the standards drive—something that Sun has been focused passionately on for 20 years," said Phipps, in Santa Clara, Calif.

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