Microsoft details next version of Visual Studio

With its first iteration of Visual Studio .Net just a few days more than six months old, Microsoft on Thursday began revealing details of the next version, as well as an upgrade to the .Net Framework.

When taken together, Visual Studio .Net and the .Net Framework form the core of Microsoft's tools for building not just the highly evangelised Web services, but also what the company is calling smart client applications and a peer-to-peer fashion computing initiative dubbed participatory computing.

As part of its strategy to make Web services pervasive throughout its entire software stack, Microsoft has been saying for several months that it plans to eventually implant the .Net Framework into most of its server products, including SQL Server, as well as the desktop and server operating systems.

AS it said it would, the Redmond, Washington-based company in the next version of Visual Studio and the .Net Framework is more closely aligning its toolbox with its other major software efforts, namely the pending Windows .Net Server, and the next generation of its database, codenamed Yukon.

Tyler McDaniel, an analyst at Hurwitz Group, said the new versions will go a long way toward making the different aspects of Microsoft's Web services offerings easier for customers to absorb.

"There has been a bit of confusion about the different pieces of .Net," McDaniel said. "With the synchronised release dates, it will help clarify what pieces customers will need to make Web services work."

For starters, Microsoft will issue an incremental release of Visual Studio, codenamed Everett, in which Visual Studio .Net and the .Net Framework will become available in conjunction with .Net Server.

An exact availability date for .Net Server has been rather elusive thus far, however. Last month, Microsoft declared that the server entered the Release Candidate testing phase, and included the .Net Framework and UDDI capabilities for locating and consuming Web services.

Further down the road, Microsoft plans to issue a Visual Studio upgrade timed for release with Yukon.

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