Microsoft to offer second beta for Visual Studio 2010

The company also discussed reducing packaging options from nine to three and set an official launch date of March 22, 2010

Microsoft will offer the second beta of its upcoming Visual Studio 2010 software development platform and the accompanying .Net Framework 4 programming platform on Monday and unveil consolidated packaging options for the toolset.

The beta package will be available to MSDN subscribers on Monday and to everyone else on Wednesday. The official launch of Visual Studio 2010 and .Net Framework 4 is set for March 22, 2010, with the technology expected to ship around that time.

[ Microsoft is looking to move legacy users of the Visual SourceSafe version control system to the newer Team Foundation Server. ]

With Visual Studio 2010, Microsoft is enabling it to be used with platforms such as the upcoming Windows 7 OS a well as with the Windows Azure cloud platform. Team capabilities for application lifecycle management also are critical. Multi-monitor support is featured as well.

The second beta adds capabilities for developing applications for the company's SharePoint collaboration platform. Visual Studio features for SharePoint include the ability to build a new SharePoint project and build and deploy SharePoint Web site and the applications behind it.

"All that happens within Visual Studio," said Dave Mendlen, Microsoft senior director of developer marketing. Microsoft on Monday also will roll out the 2010 version of SharePoint at its SharePoint Conference in Las Vegas, at which time company CEO Steve Ballmer also will announce the new beta release of Visual Studio 2010 and .Net Framework 4, Mendlen said.

.Net Framework 4 beta 2 also features SharePoint capabilities and reduces the size of the framework itself by 80 percent, Mendlen said. "The end users, the customers of these applications, will have to download a dramatically smaller runtime," resulting in an improved installation process and less time waiting to get an application running, said Mendlen.

SharePoint capabilities in Visual Studio 2010 should help boost SharePoint, an analyst said.

"SharePoint has grown like wildfire, but development of SharePoint applications has not been as easy because of the lack of tooling within Visual Studio," said Mike Gualtieri. senior analyst at Forrester. "Visual Studio 2010 includes tools for SharePoint development that will make it much more easy for developers to create and deploy SharePoint applications. Now Visual Studio developers can target SharePoint as a platform."

There are no plans for a third beta of Visual Studio 2010.

Also on Monday, Microsoft will elaborate on how its Visual Studio platform is being reduced from nine different packaging options to just three primary options.

"The feedback that we've heard from our customers was [nine options] was too complicated," said Mendlen. "There were too many packages to choose from."

The three primary packages, featuring MSDN subscriptions, include:

  • Visual Studio 2010 Ultimate with MSDN, featuring the full suite of tools including ALM products. Testing and architecture tools also are featured. It carries a price tag of $11,924 for a new customer and $3,841 for a current customer renewing with Microsoft.
  • Visual Studio 2010 Premium with MSDN, featuring the Visual Studio toolset but lacking some architecture capabilities of the Ultimate edition. Some of Microsoft's ALM suite is included. Premium costs $5,469 for new users and $2,299 for customers seeking renewals.
  • Visual Studio 2010 Professional with MSDN, for basic development tasks. It includes the core version of Visual Studio. It costs $1,199 for a new user and $799 for a renewal.

Users also can purchase Visual Studio 2010 Professional minus a MSDN subscription for $799.

Microsoft also is looking to encourage MSDN subscriptions. New benefits of MSDN include unlimited access to Visual Studio Team Foundation Server upon release, the ability to develop on the Windows Azure cloud computing platform and complementary e-learning of as much as 40 hours per year per subscriber.

"[Developers] can build applications inside of Azure at no cost to them," said Mendlen.

"The inclusion of hours for the Azure platform is very smart," Gualtieri said. "Cloud computing is a given and will become deployment approach of choice in the next few years."

MSDN customers also will be moved to a higher level of Visual Studio than what they are paying for today, he said.

This story, "Microsoft to offer second beta for Visual Studio 2010," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Follow the latest developments in Microsoft at InfoWorld.com.

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