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Microsoft Readies Visual Studio 2010 Beta 2

The revamped developers' toolset will be available to Microsoft Development Network members Wednesday.

The second beta of its upcoming Visual Studio 2010 toolset for members of the Microsoft Developer Network is ready to roll, Microsoft said Monday.

Beta 2 will become generally available for test purposes to all developers on Wednesday; the final product will be released March 22.

Visual Studio 2010 has been revamped with "a brand new editor, debugger, new user interface framework, and built in tools for Windows 7 and Microsoft Sharepoint," said S. "Soma" Somasegar, senior VP of Microsoft's Developer Division.

The overall goal is to make it easier to develop applications using Microsoft tools and technologies. To that end, Visual Studio 2010 includes new drag and drop bindings for Silverlight and Windows Presentation Foundation, where functions of each can be dragged onto an application template and made part of the application, Somasegar said in an interview.

Support is built into Visual Studio for Windows 7, Microsoft's upcoming Sharepoint 2010 end user collaboration system, the next release of the SQL Server database, and Active Server Pages technologies in ASP.Net.

The toolset also includes interoperability with Microsoft Expression Web, a Web site building application, and Azure, Microsoft's emerging cloud platform.

New versions of the products are scheduled over the next 12 months, said Somasegar. "We're making sure there's great tool support for each product," he said.

Microsoft is also striving to build application life cycle management features into Visual Studio, so that applications become easier to manage once they are developed and deployed. If developers use the .NET Framework 4, the application they deploy using the Client Profile of the framework will be 81% smaller than with previous versions.

The Client Profile uses a subset of the framework's features and connections, invoking only those that are designed for end user applications, said Somasegar. Application life cycle management includes carefully tracking any changes to the application, storing the results from testing it, and planning the date at which it will be upgraded or taken down.

Dave Mendlen, senior director of developer marketing, said Visual Studio 2010 will be offered in three packages instead of its predecessor's seven. The new Ultimate package with Visual Studio 2010 will be available to Microsoft Developer Network developers who currently subscribe to Visual Studio at the Premium level. They will be automatically upgraded to Ultimate on March 22. The upgrade will give them access to test and development rights for Windows Server 2008 Release 2 and SQL Server 2008. They will also get Microsoft Office.

For the eight months after the March 22 launch, such developers will also have access to the resources in the Microsoft Azure cloud platform at the rate of 750 hours a month -- basically, continuously. Azure is scheduled to launch in mid-November at Microsoft's professional developer event in Los Angeles.

The other two versions of Visual Studio 2010 will be known as Premium and Professional, with Professional as the base package.

InformationWeek and Dr. Dobb's have published an in-depth report on how Web application development is moving to online platforms. Download the report here (registration required).

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