TechEd: Visual Studio 2008 to focus on Web apps

Microsoft revealed the official names Monday of the next major upgrades to its Visual Studio software development tools platform and its SQL Server database, which will be called, simply, Visual Studio 2008 and SQL Server 2008.

The company announced these names during the Microsoft conference in Orlando, Fla., which began on Monday. The Visual Studio upgrade had been codenamed “Orcas,” while SQL Server has had the “Katmai” code name.

VisualStudio 2008 is due for general release at the end of 2007, said Steve Guggenheimer, general manager of the applications platform at Microsoft. A second beta release of the product is due later this summer, featuring Visual Studio Shell, which enables developers to build and distribute custom tools built on the Visual Studio IDE. A first beta was released on April 26.

The Visual Studio upgrade focuses on development of Web-based applications as well as on Windows and Microsoft’s Office suite, Guggenheimer said. “This release is very much oriented toward supporting the Vista and Office release as well as the Longhorn Server release,” of Windows, said Guggenheimer. The company announced in May that Longhorn will be called Windows Server 2008; it, too, is due later this year.

Even though it will ship in 2007, the Visual Studio upgrade will bear 2008 in its nameplate because that is when Microsoft expects most people will buy it, Guggenheimer said.

SQL Server 2008, meanwhile, will ship around the middle of 2008; a first Community Technology Preview was made available at TechEd. The new database will offer improvements for enterprise scalability and business intelligence, including reporting technology from Dundas Data Visualization. Microsoft announced its acquisition of Dundas products on Monday morning.

Microsoft at TechEd also said it has released Community Technology Previews for BizTalk Services, which is a hosted offering to enable SOA across the Internet, and the .Net Framework 3.5. The framework includes Microsoft’s Windows Communication Foundation technology for Web services, Windows Workflow Foundation, Windows Presentation Foundation, and CardSpace, for digital identities. Microsoft has said .Net Framework 3.5 will feature improvements in scalability, performance, and the Common Language Runtime.

Microsoft also reported it will deliver BizTalk Server 2006 R2, for business process management, in the third quarter of this year, featuring RFID infrastructure, native support for EDI, and technologies to integrate .Net Framework 3.0, the 2007 Microsoft Office System, and Windows Vista. Beta 2 of the product is available now.

Also at TechEd, presentation layer development tools maker Infragistics announced its NetAdvantage for WPF (Windows Presentation Foundation) software will support Visual Studio 2008. This NetAdvantage product provides user interface controls to work with WPF.

Also, Infragistics is working on Project Aikido, which is a series of ASP.Net server controls for Web 2.0 applications. Aikido leverages technologies such as AJAX (Asynchronous JavaScript and XML), HTML and Cascading Style Sheets.

Infragistics also will show prototype controls geared to work with Microsoft’s Silverlight 1.1 multimedia display technology. Featured as part of the company’s NetAdvantage for Silverlight product, controls have been built for charting, image scrolling and scroll panel, which contains UI elements such as button.

Parasoft at TechEd announced the upcoming release of Parasoft Test 4.0, intended to help development teams boost productivity on the Microsoft .Net Framework. Parasoft 4.0 automates best practices intended to increase development team productivity and software quality.

Test ensures that .Net code works as expected by enabling coding policy enforcement, static analysis and unit testing. Featured in Version 4.0 is a streamlined manual code review process. Also featured is Bug Detective, for static code analysis to identify paths that could trigger runtime defects.

A Code Review module in Version 4.0 automates the code review process. This module benefits distributed development teams who cannot logistically participate in physical code review sessions, Parasoft said.

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