Microsoft Unveils Visual Studio Tools For Office, Development Kit For Tablet PC

Developer chief highlights partners, customers in VSLive keynote

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At its VSLive Show here Tuesday, Microsoft set the beta availability of Visual Studio Tools for Office for March, and unveiled a development kit for its Tablet PC product and a beta of five ASP.Net starter kits.

The Microsoft Tablet PC Software Development Kit version 1.5 is available now and includes new features for integrating Tablet PC technology into new or existing applications, according to Microsoft.

In addition, all the APIs in the new kit are available as managed code through the .Net Framework or as native code COM objects, which allows developers to use C#, VB.Net, VB or C++ to develop applications.

The five ASP.Net starter kits are sample applications to help developers use ASP.Net and include e-commerce storefronts, data-reporting applications and community portals.

In a morning keynote at the show, Eric Rudder, Microsoft's senior vice president of the developer and platform evangelism division, unveiled a new tool from Borland, Optimizeit Profiler for the Microsoft .Net Framework. Rudder also said another Microsoft partner, AmberPoint, has signed on to deliver tools and management technology for .Net.

Microsoft said Borland and AmberPoint also joined the Visual Studio .Net Integration Program, which Microsoft designed to streamline development of complementary tools to the .Net platform, as well as ensure flexibility and tight integration of those products with .Net.

In his keynote, Rudder also highlighted new .Net implementations from four global customers, including the Annie E. Casey Foundation, Bear Stearns, Danske Bank and Verizon Communications.

As first reported by CRN in December, Visual Studio .Net 2003, code-named Everett, is expected to ship in April along with Windows .Net Server 2003. A future version of Visual Studio .Net, code-named Whidbey, is due in 2004.

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