Next Visual Studio Goes Into Beta

At VSLive in New York, the company gave a sneak peek at the upcoming Visual Studio platform, designed for Microsoft's Yukon database, which began beta-testing in July. Redmond, Wash.-based Microsoft also said it released to beta its next-generation distributed application layer for Web services and network-based computing, code-named Indigo.

Whidbey was designed to improve data access to Yukon and vastly simplify development, Microsoft executives said. Whidbey's new Windows client appdev data, user-interface controls and ASP.Net controls will reduce code development up to 70 percent, said Eric Rudder, senior vice president of servers and tools at Microsoft.

>> The revised Visual Studio developer program has three tiers and no fee for entry-level members.

Another new feature, the My Classes set of abstractions, will help developers access database resources more easily, he said.

Microsoft also previewed drag-and-drop capabilities for putting database tables into WinForms and SmartTags that access the database. Whidbey, too, will feature a community IDE, XML document modeling and an Edit-and-Continue feature.

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Rudder also confirmed that a new technology under development, code-named Whitehorse, will simplify how developers and business decision makers collaborate on applications.

Whitehorse resembles BEA Systems' WebLogic Workshop, which takes the abstraction out of complex Java code through visual modeling of workflows, said one solution provider, who requested anonymity. But developers building complex applications still need to "get [their] hands dirty with code," the source said.

Others said Whitehorse is Microsoft's response to IBM's offering of UML-based modeling tools for Java.

Paul Kalin, CTO at Back Bay Technologies, Boston, said Whidbey also will include new programming constructs for its C# language, but similar changes may be upcoming in J2EE 1.5, code-named Tiger.

Microsoft also renamed its developer program. The Visual Studio Industry Partner program now has three membership tiers,Affiliate, Alliance and Premier,and lets entry-level members join at no fee.