Microsoft Corp.s professional Developers Conference is expected to be a coming-out party of sorts for the next version of Visual Studio, code-named Orcas.
Primary among Visual Studios new features and new direction will be advances in how the tool set handles data, sources said.
Data becomes "cool" in Orcas, said a source familiar with Microsofts strategy for the forthcoming release.
Indeed, Anders Hejlsberg, Microsoft distinguished engineer and father of the C# language at the Redmond, Wash., company, will be delivering talks at next weeks PDC conference in Los Angeles on just how this will work.
Hejlsberg is scheduled to talk about the .Net Language Integrated Query Framework. An abstract of the talk stated, "The future Orcas release of Visual Studio aims to unify the programming models through integrated query capabilities in C# and Visual Basic, a strongly typed data access framework, and an innovative API for manipulating and querying XML."
Hejlsberg hinted as much in an interview with eWEEK earlier this summer. "My particular interest for the past couple of years has been to really think deeply about the big impedance mismatch we have between programming languages, C# in particular, and the database world, like SQL—or, for that matter, the XML world, like XQuery and those languages that exist there," Hejlsberg said.
Meanwhile, Hejlsberg will discuss the future of C# and demonstrate a new compiler he has developed for improved data handling in C# 3.0. Paul Vick, technical lead for Visual Basic development at Microsoft, will give a similar talk on the future of Visual Basic.
Indeed, in looking to its future, Microsoft is reaching back to its past, sources said. In Orcas, many of the new and innovative features borrow from Microsofts FoxPro database, sources said. FoxPro and Visual FoxPro are all about data, and, in the new world of Visual Basic, data handling and rapid application development become fused, sources said. Internally, Windows Forms and Visual Basic have been coupled under the same group at Microsoft.
Despite putting FoxPro features in the key Orcas language, Microsoft has said it will still be updating the product line, starting with Visual FoxPro 9.0 Service Pack 1, by the end of the year.
Although Microsoft will discuss Visual Studio 2005, code-named Whidbey, at the conference, the major focus will be on Orcas, sources said. "Just like the 2003 PDC was about Whidbey, this years PDC will be about Orcas," a source said. Microsoft typically holds the conference every two years.
Mary Jo Foley of Microsoft Watch contributed to this article.