Microsoft to Sing Visual Studios Virtues to Eclipse Crowd

By giving a talk at EclipseCon about Visual Studio's extensibility, the software giant hopes to appeal to customers and partners.

BURLINGAME, Calif.—Although the Eclipse open-source development platform is the realm of Java and open-source aficionados, Microsoft Corp. will present a talk at the EclipseCon 2005 conference here on the virtues of its proprietary Visual Studio .Net development platform.

On Wednesday, Jason Weber, lead program manager for Visual Studio, will give a presentation on "Extending Visual Studio" to the EclipseCon 2005 audience of Eclipse developers.

"The reason were going is we have a number of both partners and customers with heterogeneous offerings and IT environments, and this is a great place to talk to them about Visual Studio," said Nick Abbott, group manager for Microsofts VSIP (Visual Studio Industry Partner) program.

"There are also a number of people who might not know about the extensibility of Visual Studio," Abbott said.

Indeed, Abbott said a large number of companies that target Eclipse also target Visual Studio. By some accounts, as many as 70 percent of the vendors supporting the Eclipse ecosystem also dabble in some way or support the Visual Studio world.

According to the blurb in the EclipseCon agenda, Webers talk will cover the idea that "Visual Studio is a tools platform that can be extended with new languages, technologies, and features. Using the free Visual Studio SDK you can quickly integrate your products and expand your reach to millions of developers worldwide. In addition to offering technology for advanced integration scenarios, the Visual Studio Industry Partner program provides you with support, co-licensing and opportunities for exposure."

Weber told eWEEK his talk will be an opportunity for various vendors, particularly language vendors, to witness the technical extensibility points of Visual Studio. He said he will cover how Visual Studio supports integration throughout the Visual Studio stack, including lifecycle management tools, source code control management tools and other new functionality being built into the Visual Studio Team System platform.

"I plan to really mine into what Visual Studio is all about … and look at some of the end-user customization and automation in Visual Studio," Weber said. "Some [Visual Studio] end-user productivity features get pushed in the background."

One such feature is the Macros IDE, which includes a code editor and several tool windows that apply specifically to the code and projects within the Macros environment. Weber said this enables developers to do scripting. Weber also will discuss user controls, the debugger visualizer and other features of the Visual Studio platform that make for more simplified end-user experiences.

"Im going to cover the breadth of Visual Studio extensibility," Weber said.

However, Abbott and Weber acknowledged that they hope to score more partners for Visual Studio, and not just Visual Studio Team System, but "the core IDE and the .Net platform," Abbott said.

Although they come from the primary competing camp, the Microsoft duo does not exactly see presenting at Eclipse as walking into the lions den. They both attended the first EclipseCon last year in Anaheim, Calif., as delegates, and they were "very well-received," Abbott said.

"Its in our best interest and our competitors best interest to show we have solutions our customers can use in heterogeneous environments," he said.


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