Microsoft Gives Peek Into Visual Studio .Net 2003

As Microsoft readies the current Visual Studio .Net release candidate for final production before the end of the year, it's already working on the next version for release in late 2003.

LAS VEGAS—As Microsoft Corp. readies the current Visual Studio .Net release candidate for final production before the end of the year, its development team is already working on the next version of the product for release in late 2003.

While Visual Studio .Net Version 2002 will be broadly available after the official launch at an event in San Francisco on Feb. 13, 2002, developers who subscribe to the Microsoft Developer Network, or MSDN, will receive the final code before the end of the year, David Lazar, the lead product manager responsible for marketing Microsofts developer tools, told eWEEK in an interview here at Comdex.

"While both the VS .Net 2002 Enterprise Developer and Enterprise Architect editions have support for SOAP and Web services, when we move forward to the global XML Web services infrastructure we are going to want to put tool support on top of that," Lazar said.

Microsoft announced the Global XML Web Services Architecture, which provides a set of principles and guidelines for advancing the protocols and file formats of todays XML Web services to more complex and sophisticated tasks, at its Professional Developers Conference in Los Angeles last month.

"When you think about the reliable message delivery talked about in the global specifications and you think about asynchronous communications and orchestrating several different Web services and integrating these with transactions, they have to rely in an enterprise way on that fabric. So Visual Studio .Net will enable those sorts of applications going forward," he said.

Visual Studio .Net 2003, which Lazar said will be a "fairly significant" release, will also include the final versions of Visual J#, the Java language for building XML Web services on the .Net platform, and the Smart Device Extensions, which allow rich applications to be developed for handheld and other wireless devices. Both Visual J# and the Smart Device Extensions are currently at the technical preview stage and we

re also announced at PDC.

"There are also a lot of things we want to do at the high end, and we are doing a lot of thinking about the enterprise," Lazar said. "We created two products in this cycle: the Enterprise Architect edition and the Enterprise Developer edition."

Enterprise Architect is a key product for developers who understand and work on the application architecture, and will include a new technology called Enterprise Templates. While this technology was included in the 2002 release, it will be significantly expanded going forward, he said.

"They allow the developer or architect to capture exactly how they want the project to be based, in terms of what technologies can and should be used, what pieces should be located where in a multitier architecture. It then captures all that and locks in the tool so that the rest of the development team knows exactly where to go and where to put things," Lazar said.

Rational Software, usually a Microsoft competitor in the enterprise space, is also implementing its e-business accelerators in the enterprise templates technology in Visual Studio. "You can expect to see a lot more at the high end in terms of the enterprise," he said.

Lazar also said the submission of the specifications for C# and the Common Language Infrastructure, a key subset of the .Net Framework, to international standards body ECMA last October is proceeding rapidly.

ECMA is scheduled to hold a general assembly in December, and the report and recommendations from Technical Committee 39, the one monitoring its progress, are expected to be submitted. "We have already incorporated the changes and feedback from that committee into the VS .Net product," Lazar said.