Microsoft Fattens Already Packed Visual Studio 2005 Lineup

In a keynote at the VSLive show in Orlando, Fla., new Microsoft Developer Division Corporate Vice President S. Somasegar unveiled Visual Studio 2005 Standard Edition, scheduled to ship as part of Visual Studio 2005 in the first half of next year. Microsoft also plans another Visual Studio 2005 beta before the end of the year, he said.

Standard Edition supports all Visual Studio languages--J#, C#, C++ and Visual Basic--and can be used for Windows, Web and mobile development, said Jay Roxe, a Visual Studio product manager at Microsoft. The new version is aimed at developers working on their own who want more functionality than the Express versions of Visual Studio offer, he said.

"We think it's the right tool for developers working on their own, building business-line applications or a very serious hobbyist looking to do Windows, Web and mobile development," Roxe said.

Microsoft already announced several language-specific SKUs of Visual Studio 2005, Express Edition, as well as a Web development version, for entry-level developers. And early this year, the Redmond, Wash.-based software giant said it will release several versions of the enterprise edition of Visual Studio, renamed Visual Studio Team System 2005, for highly skilled developers that touch different parts of the application development life cycle. Microsoft will release three versions of Visual Studio Team System 2005: Visual Studio Team Architect, Visual Studio Team Developer and Visual Studio Team Test.

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Visual Studio 2005 also will come in a Professional Edition for the average developer building Windows, Web and business applications in a corporate setting.

Though the announcement of so many versions and SKUs of Visual Studio 2005 is "a little confusing," there is a method to Microsoft's madness, said Andrew Brust, chief of new technology at Citigate Hudson, a New York-based solution provider and Microsoft partner.

"There was a thoughtfulness behind it," Brust said. "It was based on the idea that there are certain groups of developers Microsoft was not serving properly [because the tools] were too dumbed-down or too built-up."

Microsoft also surmised that because of the variety of open-source options available for developing on the J2EE platform, some developers might have chosen not to migrate to .Net, Brust said. Microsoft wanted to provide a host of entry-level ways for developers to be introduced to the platform with user-friendly and relatively inexpensive tools, he added.

Also unveiled at VSLive on Monday was a refresh of Visual Studio 2005 beta one release in June, Roxe said. The refresh includes Visual Studio Team System in addition to the rest of the planned Visual Studio 2005 releases. The original beta one included Visual Studio 2005 only through the Professional Edition, he said.

In addition, Microsoft released Visual Studio.Net 2003 Professional Special Edition, a new bundle of tools to help developers migrate to .Net using the existing version of the platform, Roxe said. Priced at $749, the package offers a combination of Visual Studio.Net 2003, Windows 2003 Server Standard Edition, SQL Server 2003 Developer Edition and Visual Studio Tools for Office.