Microsoft ships Visual Studio 2008

Accompanying .Net Framework 3.5 also available for download to MSDN subscribers now with disk versions to be offered in the next few weeks

Microsoft has released to manufacturing its Visual Studio 2008 software development platform and the accompanying .Net Framework 3.5, meaning these technologies are now available for download on MSDN to subscribers, the company said Monday.

The products will be offered on disk within the next few weeks. Trial subscriptions also are available now. Visual Studio 2008 and .Net Framework 3.5 are accessible on MSDN here.

Among other things, Visual Studio 2008 is Microsoft's development platform geared to building Windows Vista applications. During a recent conference, difficulties with building Vista applications with the existing Visual Studio 2005 platform were cited by an attendee, who was assured that the solution is to upgrade to Visual Studio 2008.

Microsoft is touting Visual Studio 2008 as a platform for professional developers as well as hobbyists and teams.

"I am incredibly proud to be a part of the team that is truly advancing the state of developer tools," said S. "Soma" Somasegar, Microsoft corporate vice president for the company's developer division, in his blog on Monday.

"We hope that Visual Studio 2008 and .Net Framework 3.5 enables you as an individual or as a team to build great applications. Whether you are a professional developer or a software enthusiast, are building applications for the client, server, Web, or devices, we hope you have fun with these products as your software is our passion," Somasegar said.

Microsoft with Visual Studio 2008 is offering enhancements in every edition of the product, including Visual Studio Express for hobbyists and Visual Studio Team System for team-based development. With more than 250 new features, Visual Studio 2008 includes such improvements as visual designers to speed development with .Net Framework 3.5 and upgrades to Web development tools and language enhancements, the company said.

A highlight of particular interest is LINQ (Language Integrated Query), which the company said closes the gap between programming objects and data. Developers can focus on what they need the data to do rather than on how to access it, the company said. Microsoft is positioning LINQ as a technology for rapid application development.

"LINQ is the star," said Greg DeMichillie, lead analyst for application platforms at Directions on Microsoft. LINQ makes it easier to tie together C# or Visual Basic with SQL, he said.

"Everything else in Visual Studio 2008 is useful to some set of developers or another, but LINQ hits the entire spectrum of developers," he said.

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