Microsoft Will Unveil Web Tool

By eweek  |  Posted 2001-01-15

True to form, Microsoft Corp. this week plans to announce a product that isnt expected to ship until at least the last half of the year.

The product, VSA (Visual Studio for Applications), allows users to customize Web applications.

VBA (Visual Basic for Applications) has been available since 1993 on the client side as a way for ISVs to allow customers to customize purchased applications. Now VSA takes that capability to Microsofts .Net platform.

Initially, VSA is expected to ship with Visual Basic. Other languages targeting the .Net platform will be added in future releases, said officials of the Redmond, Wash., company. The custom code will be able to run from a browser on any platform. Microsoft officials said the timing of the products release is tied to the release of Visual Studio.Net. Both products are expected to go into another round of beta testing this spring.

Mike Lloyd, technical strategy manager for Marlborough Stirling plc., said the financial services solutions provider hopes VSA will ease its customized applications sales. The company now customizes for its clients by going back to the source code of its applications. "Thats a difficult task to manage when youre trying to meet the requirements [and deadlines] of a growing client base," said Lloyd, an early tester of the product, in Cheltenham, England.

VSA "allows our customers to more easily customize what we already provide out of the box," said Scott Hollis, director of product management for NetIQ Corp., in San Jose, Calif. NetIQ, which has been testing the product for a couple of months, plans to incorporate VSA into one of its products.

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