On Monday, Microsoft announced availability of the much-anticipated beta two version of Visual Studio 2005 and the .Net Compact Framework 2.0, as well as a community technology preview of SQL Server 2005.
Microsoft was expected to release a third beta of SQL Server 2005, but company executives told CRN that they recently decided to release only technology previews of SQL Server 2005 for the rest of the test cycle.
Originally expected early in the first quarter, Visual Studio 2005 beta two is now full-featured and includes all team edition components, many of which were missing in the beta one version. In total, Microsoft plans to release 14 separate SKUs of the product based on the Visual Studio 2005, Visual Studio 2005 Express Edition and Visual Studio 2005 Team System offerings.
.Net Framework 2.0, which will eventually be embedded into Visual Studio 2005 and the Windows operating system, incorporates ASP.Net 2.0 and the .Net Compact Framework 2.0.
Since the development platform and database platforms are in the latter stages of development, Microsoft also said it would extend its GoLive License program to enable customers to deploy Visual Studio 2005 and SQL Server 2005 Express Edition for production use in-house. As a result, customers can legally use the software in-house, but Microsoft won't offer technical support until the software ships commercially.
Visual Studio 2005 and SQL Server 2005 initially were expected to be delivered in 2004, and later Microsoft said they wouldn't be released until midyear 2005. However, the Redmond, Wash.-based software giant recently said its timetable slipped again and that the two major upgrades wouldn't be completed until the second half of 2005.