Microsoft Lays Out Tools Roadmap

Microsoft offers a few glimpses into its tools roadmap and enhances its industry partner program to further grow its ecosystem around its tools.

NEW YORK—Microsoft Corp. today offered a few new glimpses into its tools roadmap and enhanced its industry partner program to further grow its ecosystem around its tools.

Speaking at the VSLive! New York 2003 conference, Eric Rudder, senior vice president of Server and Tools at Microsoft, gave glimpses of future versions of Microsofts Visual Studio .Net and the .Net Framework, including the next version of the technology, code-named Whidbey, and the subsequent version code-named Orcas.

"We just went beta with Whidbey in the past week," said Rudder at the end of his keynote presentation, although later Microsoft officials said there has not yet been a public beta review of the product. "We have given the code to a very close set of partners," said Ari Bixhorn, lead product manager for Visual Studio .Net. A developer who was among those to get the early Whidbey software called it more alpha than beta. Rudder and Bixhorn said Microsoft will be giving the first public early Whidbey beta disks to developers at the upcoming Microsoft professional Developers Conference in Los Angeles in October. A more mature beta will follow in the first half of 2004, with final shipment of the product expected in the second half of next year, Bixhorn said.

Throughout his talk Rudder emphasized the significance of Web services in Microsofts overall strategy for developers and identified Visual Studio .Net as the premier environment for building Web services because of the Web Services Enhancements (WSE) technology Microsoft makes available to developers.

Rudder said the Whidbey version of Visual Studio .Net will be aligned with the next version of Microsoft SQL Server, which is code-named Yukon; while the subsequent release of the tool, code-named Orcas, will be aligned with the next release of Windows, which is code-named Longhorn.

Click here to read more on forthcoming advances Microsoft is promising for its Longhorn wave of products.

Whidbey will feature a number of enhancements, not least of which will be enhanced modeling support, through Whitehorse, the code name for the next version of modeling technology to come from Microsoft, Rudder said.

In addition, Whidbey will provide enhanced debugging and no-touch deployment, said Bixhorn. And when Bixhorn said the Edit and Continue feature will be included in the Whidbey release the crowd of developers cheered.

Meanwhile, Microsoft will provide enhanced support for the .Net Compact Framework in Whidbey, including support for the Smartphone, Windows CE 4.2-based devices and the latest versions of the PocketPC, Bixhorn said. New controls in the product will allow developers to write less code to perform basic tasks. And the .Net Framework version of Whidbey will support 64-bit processors, Rudder said.

In addition, Microsoft is "building community into the product itself," Rudder said. The product will feature things like online forum capabilities, community help and other mechanisms