Microsoft Promises Desktop-To-Cloud Development With Visual Studio 2010

Microsoft began shipping its long-awaited Visual Studio 2010 development toolset Monday, offering support for Windows 7, Microsoft's Azure cloud computing platform, and the latest releases of SharePoint Server and Windows Phone.

Microsoft also shipped .NET Framework 4 Monday and said Silverlight 4, a new version of the Web rich-application framework, will be released later this week.

The wave of new development technologies provides ISVs, channel partners and corporate developers with the ability to build applications that span desktops, mobile devices, the Web and cloud computing environments.

"Obviously, this is a huge release for us," said Sean McBreen, senior director of developer marketing at Microsoft, in an interview prior to the release. "I think there's a huge amount of pent-up demand for this," he added, noting that this is the first release of Visual Studio in almost two and a half years and the most significant since Visual Studio 2005.

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Bob Muglia, president of Microsoft's server and tools business, officially launched the new products at the Microsoft Visual Studio Conference & Expo event at the Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas.

"With the launch of Visual Studio 2010, .NET Framework 4 and Silverlight 4, developers around the world will find it much easier to build immersive applications that cross organizational boundaries, and enable their businesses to be successful, both today and in the future," Muglia said.

Next: Toolset Will Enable New ISV Partner Apps

More than 50 applications developed by ISV partners using the new toolset are expected to be available within 30 days, McBreen said. "We realize our success is linked to our key partners."

"Collaboration, defect management, delivering apps on time and to spec -- these things are simply hard to do, particularly when hundreds or thousands of developers are involved or when you factor in new areas like mobile or the cloud," said Gustavo Eydelsteyn, managing director at ComponentOne, in a statement. He said Visual Studio 2010, .NET Framework 4 and Silverlight 4 would help developers overcome some of those hurdles while providing capabilities to develop applications for emerging environments.

ComponentOne, a Microsoft partner, develops components, development tools and applications that run with Visual Studio. McBreen said Visual Studio 2010 would also help drive down the cost of development projects for VARs.

Perhaps the most significant new capabilities in Visual Studio 2010 are expanded links to other Microsoft platforms. Developers can integrate the Visual Studio development environment with SharePoint functionality. Developers can use Windows Azure tools in Visual Studio to develop, test, debug and deploy cloud applications. Ditto for developers building applications for Windows Phone 7.

McBreen, for example, said developing a SharePoint application today takes 34 manual steps while that will be reduced to one with Visual Studio 2010. "Broad adoption of Microsoft technology takes a great [development] tool and that's what we've got here," he said.

The new Visual Studio includes IntelliTrace, a tool for tracking down non-reproducible bugs by recording an application's execution history. Other new automated testing features improve Visual Studio's application lifecycle management capabilities. And a new editor that uses the Windows Presentation Foundation supports such concepts such as the use of multiple monitors.

.NET Framework 4 supports more industry standards and a broader choice of more languages, and provides a runtime size that's more than 80 percent smaller than older releases.

Microsoft shipped the first beta of Visual Studio 2010 18 months ago, the second back in October and the final release candidate version back in February.