Microsoft officials at the VSLive conference in San Francisco this week elaborated on where the company is headed with its software development tools, noting the planned Orcas and Rosario releases of Visual Studio, due later this year and a year afterward, respectively. InfoWorld editor at large Paul Krill sat down with Prashant Sridharan, Microsoft group product manager for Visual Studio, to discuss Microsoft's tool plans as well as issues such as the level of developer talent available.
InfoWorld: This is the 10th anniversary of Visual Studio. You mentioned how it started out as kind of a hodgepodge of different products and how it’s evolved over the years. What do you think of how the platform has evolved over the past 10 years?
Sridharan: We’ve been able to deliver a very productive, very approachable framework for developers. With a combination of IntelliSense and the framework simplicity and elegance itself, developers can be immediately productive using the framework. And as we add new features and new functionality to the framework, things like Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF), Windows Communication Foundation (WCF), and so on, again, they fall into the same ethos of simplicity, approachability, elegance, and so on. Developers can take the skills they’ve learned and continue to grow those skills with the latest and greatest platforms.
InfoWorld: What is the status of Net 3.0, which features WPF, WCF, and so on?
Sridharan: .Net Framework 3.0 is available now. Let’s just step back for a second. Visual Studio 2005 shipped with .Net Framework 2.0. We’ve shipped .Net Framework 3.0, which includes WPF, WCF, Windows Workflow Foundation, and CardSpace. And then there are no tools for that, which is why we shipped a number of extensions, which are now available on msdn.microsoft.com/vstudio. These are extensions to Visual Studio 2005 that enable you to target .Net Framework 3.0. .Net Framework 3.5 is the next version of the .Net Framework, and that will ship coincident with Visual Studio Orcas. And when we ship.Net Framework 3.5 and when we ship Visual Studio Orcas, a lot of those tools, like the designer surface for WPF, the designer surface for WCF, and so on, all those features and all those tools will be built in Visual Studio Orcas.
InfoWorld: What are some of the other new features in .Net Framework 3.5?
Sridharan: It’s the continuation of WPF, WCF, Windows Workflow, and so on. [There are] continuing scalability [and] performance enhancements in the framework and the CLR (Common Language Runtime) itself, and I’m sure there are a number of other features as well. I think the biggest feature, the biggest new feature in .Net Framework 3.5 is LINQ, the Language Integrated Query, which provides much better programmatic access to databases and data sources.
InfoWorld: Has Microsoft sold a million copies of Visual Studio 2005?
Sridharan: Over a million professional developers [are] using Visual Studio 2005 today, that’s from our internal tracking studies. It’s a pretty significant number, given where we are in the release of Visual Studio. I think it speaks not only to the solidity of Visual Studio itself, but it also speaks to the maturity of our industry.
InfoWorld: In what way?