Microsoft Fattens Visual Studio 2005 With Standard Edition

In a keynote at the VSLive show in Orlando, Fla., 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.

Standard Edition supports all Visual Studio languages--J#, C#, C++ and Visual Basic--and can be used for Windows, Web and mobile development. The new version is aimed at solo developers who want a step up in functionality over the Express versions.

For entry-level developers, Microsoft already announced several language-specific SKUs of Visual Studio 2005 Express Edition and a Web-development version. The Redmond, Wash.-based software giant also plans to release three versions of Visual Studio Enterprise Edition, renamed Visual Studio Team System 2005, for skilled developers working on different parts of the application development life cycle.

Visual Studio 2005 also will be offered as a Professional Edition, geared for corporate developers building Windows, Web and business applications.

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Joe Lindsay, CTO of solution provider eBuilt, Costa Mesa, Calif., said Microsoft is determined to meet the June 30 deadline for releasing all of Visual Studio 2005. Even so, some solution providers are girding for what they think will be a delayed release of Team System capabilities.

One East Coast Microsoft partner who requested anonymity concurred. "My expectation is we'll see [Visual Studio] roll out with the base editions, and then plus 90 or plus 120 days we'll see the Team bits," the partner said.

Although the planned release of so many versions of Visual Studio 2005 is admittedly "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 Microsoft solution provider.

"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," he said.

BARBARA DARROW contributed to this story.