Microsoft Targets Solo Programmers with New Visual Studio Version
In his keynote address to the developer audience, Microsoft Developer Division Corporate Vice President Soma Somasegar said Visual Studio 2005 will round out the Visual Studio 2005 product line, which is expected to hit the market in mid-2005. The Visual Studio family will include Microsofts Visual Studio 2005 Express products, Visual Studio 2005 Standard Edition, Visual Studio 2005 Professional Edition and Visual Studio 2005 Team System.
"With Visual Studio 2005 Standard Edition weve recognized there is no one right tool for all developers and weve tried to target the line at the different types of developers," said Jay Roxe, product manager for Visual Basic, in an interview with eWEEK. "With Standard Edition were targeting individuals who develop professional commercial quality applications but who develop on their own. The announcement of Standard Edition completes the picture for the Visual Studio product line."
"We wanted to build a family of products that catered to all developers of all different types, and with Visual Studio 2005 I think we are on a path to great success," Somasegar said.
According to Stephanie Saad, program manager for Visual Studio, the new Standard Edition enables developers to go from Visual Basic, particularly Visual Basic 6.0, and Visual Basic .Net to Web development. She said new productivity features will enable developers to produce applications, Web sites and Web services much more rapidly.
"Visual Studio 2005 Standard Edition will help Visual Basic 6 developers migrate to .Net and to Visual Studio 2005 technologies," said Peter Varhol, DevPartner product manager with Compuware Corp., of Detroit. "Compuware has recognized the need to ease the transition to .Net since its introduction in 2002, and DevPartner Studio helps developers build reliable and high performing applications that use new .Net code, or a combination of .Net and existing Visual Basic 6 code."
In fact, Microsoft officials said the newly announced Visual Studio 2005 Standard Edition features much of the simplicity of the Visual Studio Express products but includes richer features for building data-driven smart client and Web applications. Microsoft, of Redmond, Wash., said more than 360,000 beta versions of the Visual Studio Express products have been downloaded since they were made available in June 2004.
In addition, Microsoft officials said Visual Studio 2005 Standard Edition includes support for add-in tools and components developed by the more than 200 Visual Studio Integration Partners (VSIP).
"Since its foundation in 1998, the Component Vendor Consortium has worked with Microsoft developers and seen first-hand the return on investment that they get from building applications for the .NET Framework," said Rich Little, president of the Component Vendor Consortium, of Milford, N.H., in a statement. "With todays announcement of Visual Studio 2005 Standard Edition, Microsoft has created new opportunities for Visual Basic 6.0 developers and the controls vendors who were a part of that community."
Despite the touted cooperation between Microsoft and Sun Microsystems Inc. following the spring settlement of Suns Java virtual machine lawsuit, the companies still compete tooth-and-nail for developers and their tools.
"For several years now Sun has established tools and developer offerings that suit several profiles of developers, and its interesting to see other tools offerings following suit," said Jim Inscore, group product marketing manager, with Sun Microsystems, of Santa Clara, Calif. "Because theyre based on Java standards, Suns tools help developers avoid lock in to proprietary runtimes inherent in some other tool suites."
"Its true that corporate and mainstream software developers should not be over simplified into a single category," he continued. "The Java programming language and the NetBeans open-source IDE present the optimum standards-based developer foundation. Building on NetBeans, Sun offers Java Studio Creator for business developers who dont want to deal with the details of programming and Java Studio Enterprise for developers who need to build more scalable, enterprise apps. Best of all, developers investments in Creator apps can be preserved as they move upscale as the standards-based code can be consumed by Java Studio Enterprise."
Meanwhile, Microsoft announced the release of the Visual Studio 2005 Beta 1 Refresh to both Microsoft Developer Network and (MSDN) subscribers and attendees at VSLive! Orlando. The refresh will include Visual Studio 2005 Team Foundation.
In addition, Microsofts Somasegar informed attendees of the availability of Visual Studio .Net 2003 Special Edition, a suite that includes Visual Studio .NET 2003, Windows Server 2003 Developer Edition, SQL Server 2000 Developer Edition and Visual Studio Tools for Office. The suite enables developers to build ASP.Net Web applications and Visual Basic applications. The suite will sell for $749 and $549 for upgrades.
On the communication and community front, Roxe said Microsoft has been "aggressively trying to get a lot of feedback from customers," mainly through the MSDN Product Feedback Center, formerly known as LadyBug internally. "Its a very direct pipe from our users into our developers."