Microsoft Partners Embrace Visual Studio

By Darryl K. Taft  |  Posted 2005-02-10

Microsoft Partners Embrace Visual Studio

When it comes to extending the combined Visual Studio and .Net Framework environment into interesting solutions that solve user problems and save money, Microsoft is looking to its partners for help.

So said S. "Soma" Somasegar, corporate vice president of the Microsoft Developer Division, while addressing Microsoft Corp.s developer community at VSLive here this week.

As an example of how Microsoft, of Redmond, Wash., works with its key partners, Somasegar mentioned Micro Focus International Ltd. of Berkshire, England.

Somasegar recently sat down with eWEEK to discuss a range of issues, including open source. Click here to read the interview.

Micro Focus announced Monday that it has chosen to standardize the .Net Framework and Visual Studio as the single environment for legacy application development, helping to move legacy applications to Windows.

Visual Studio and Windows are essential to Micro Focus legacy modernization strategy, officials said.

Ian Archbell, vice president of product management at Micro Focus, said the announcement bolsters Micro Focus commitment to Microsofts Visual Studio Industry Partner program and strengthens ties between legacy systems and Microsoft technology.

"Micro Focus has delivered an enterprise-ready mainframe system on Windows," Archbell said. "Were now offering, based on the Whidbey [code name for Visual Studio 2005] platform, the capability to develop enterprise-ready applications to take advantage of .Net."

This weeks news builds on a previously announced solution where Micro Focus aligned its Net Express with the .Net legacy migration tool to deploy COBOL applications to the .Net Framework using Visual Studio .Net 2003, Archbell said. The company has now pledged its commitment to Visual Studio 2005 for Net Express developers.

Mondays announcement means that Micro Focus has a single IDE (integrated development environment) for deployment to mainframes, Windows, Unix and Linux, as opposed to having three or four different IDEs.

"Windows has matured as an enterprise-ready platform," Archbell said.

Nick Abbott, group manager of business development for Visual Studio and the Microsoft Developer Network, said customers are driving the push for Micro Focus and Microsoft to work together.

"Its customers coming to us and saying, We need to get off this [legacy] platform, and What are the alternatives?" Abbott said.

The collaborative effort to open legacy applications for a new architecture is more cost-effective and efficient than some other solutions, officials said. "We have the capability at the lower end of the mainframe market to be able to take applications off larger mainframes and run them on more cost-effective [Intel Corp.-based] platforms," Archbell said.

Next Page: A $30 billion market.

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Archbell said he is content to take even a small piece of the "finite but large" legacy modernization market. In fact, he said he sees the market worth upward of $30 billion if service, hardware and support are added to the equation.

Although Micro Focus has standardized on Visual Studio and .Net as its platform of choice for modernizing legacy applications, Archbell said he sanctioned an effort to look at an alternative solution based on the open-source Eclipse platform championed by IBM, which has a lot at stake in the mainframe modernization trend.

To read more about Eclipse, click here.

He said that only a small minority of his companys customers wanted to go with Eclipse and that he decided supporting two IDEs was not the right move.

"At the end of the day, we have to do Visual Studio," Archbell said. "To do two IDEs would make no sense at all. Were betting on Microsoft."

Also betting on Microsoft is Infragistics Inc., of East Windsor, N.J., which announced shipment of its NetAdvantage 2005 Volume 1 suite of user interface tools for Microsoft Windows Forms, ASP.Net, Tablet PC and COM (Component Object Model).

Infragistics also announced the release of TestAdvantage, a set of custom libraries for the automated testing of presentation layer development using Mercury Interactive Corp.s QuickTest Professional .Net add-in.

"In the past, companies had to have QA [quality assurance] departments working alongside development teams to do this kind of thing," said Dean Guida, CEO of Infragistics.

"Its a very human, intense process. Until we built TestAdvantage, there was no productive way of testing the UI," Guida added. "The UI is a major part of being able to drive business. We think this tool is really big and is going to have a huge impact on our ISVs."

"Wed be very happy to get just a 5 percent slice of that market," he said.

Also at the show, AutomatedQA Corp., of Las Vegas, announced support for Microsoft Visual Studio 2005 Team System in the latest releases of the companys TestComplete, AQtime and Automated Build Studio solutions., of Eugene, Ore., announced CommStudio, a set of components and visual debugging tools for integrating remote systems and devices with Visual Studio .Net 2003.

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