Some developers will wait for Visual Studio.Net

Only paying subscribers to Microsoft Corp.'s developers program will receive the final version of its Visual Studio.Net developer software by the end of the year, while most members of its developers network will have to wait until Feb. 13 to get a copy, the company said Tuesday.

Several hundred thousand paying subscribers of the Microsoft Developers Network (MSND) will be the first to get their hands on the new software development tool next month, said David Lazar, the lead product manager for Microsoft's tools group.

The final version of the software will be widely released two months later during the VS Live developer conference in San Francisco, he said.

Anticipated as the set of tools that will facilitate Microsoft's lofty plans to build applications and Web-based services using technology standards such as XML (Extensible Markup Language), the software has been tested by about 2.5 million developers since it was first released in beta last year.

"Of course they've submitted a lot of bugs," Lazar said. "And we've been in major bug-crunching mode."

Still, as many as 25 companies around the world have already begun deploying applications built with the beta versions of the software. Five companies, including Verizon Wireless Inc. and electronic commerce company CafePress.com, announced this week that they have completed major application deployments using the beta 2 version of Visual Studio.Net.

"The beta is incredibly stable," Lazar said, adding that Microsoft for the first time offered a license for its beta product that allowed companies to deploy applications with the tools. "With the release of Beta 1, we had all these people asking us 'can we deploy on this platform?'" For instance, Verizon used the beta tools to rebuild software that ran its circuits after much of its network was destroyed during the Sept. 11 attacks on the World Trade Center in New York. "When lower Manhattan got blown out they basically had to relocate all the circuits for that part of the city," Lazar said.

Six days after the attacks, working with software consulting company Infragistics Inc., Verizon had relocated and rebuilt its downed circuits.

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