Although disappointed by product delays, Visual Studio 2005 beta users are nonetheless pleased with the product's feature set, noting enhancements in areas such as ALM (application lifecycle management) and Web development.
Visual Studio 2005 became available to Microsoft Developer Network (MSDN) users last week and ships to everyone else on Monday, with the same status holding true for the SQL Server 2005 database. The company will laud these two products and the upcoming BizTalk Server 2006 business process software on Monday at an event in San Francisco.
"In general, I'm very excited about [VS 2005], especially the improvements in ASP.Net and Visual Studio Team System," said Joe Homnick, a beta user of Visual Studio 2005 and president of Homnick Systems, a learning solutions partner for Microsoft. He has been involved in three Visual Studio-related user groups in Florida, including founding the Gold Coast Users Group.
But Homnick acknowledged delays with Visual Studio 2005 and SQL Server 2005. "Of course, I'd like to have seen [them] a lot faster," he said. Visual Studio 2005 had been due in 2004 but slipped by about a year.
"I think the lateness was created by the integration between Visual Studio and SQL Server. This gives you that whole CLR (Common Language Runtime) integration, as well as data analysis services in SQL Server," Homnick said.
Another beta user was more blunt about the arrival of Visual Studio 2005.
"We've been waiting a long time for the damn thing," said Tim Huckaby, CEO of InterKnowlogy, a Microsoft Gold-level partner that does custom application development. But he said the product was postponed because Microsoft did not want to ship it before it was ready to go.
InterKnowlogy has one customer going live with a Visual Studio 2005 application for insurance underwriting. Another client, a golf equipment manufacturer, has a Visual Studio 2005 Tools for the Microsoft Office System application from the 2005 toolset that compares metrics of golf clubs, Huckaby said.
"We got the [two] projects done in a faction of [the] time" that would have been required in the current Visual Studio product, Huckaby said. The tool set enables more productivity, which means projects get done quicker and cost clients a lot less, he said.
"The gist of the [new product set] is developer productivity" via an enhanced .Net Framework that features new framework classes, Huckaby said. These classes mean developers do not have to write this code themselves, he said. The Visual Studio IDE also offers enhanced debugging, Huckaby said.
Homnick said one of his clients, a city government, will use a Visual Studio 2005 application that leverages SQL Server reporting services to generate government reports.
The Team System version of Visual Studio 2005 introduces ALM to Microsoft's development platform. Team System represents a change, said beta user Andrew Brust, chief of new technology at Citigate Hudson, which builds business intelligence applications and does custom development.
"I believe that this is going to really change overall the methodological approach and the thoroughness in which a lot of Microsoft-oriented shops are going to create applications," Brust said. Team System features capabilities previously only available to Microsoft developers via third-party products, he said. For example, policies can be set up for checking code into a repository.