Microsoft adds to Visual Studio tools line

Continuing to fill out its Visual Studio tools line, Microsoft has announced Visual Studio 2005 Standard Edition, intended for developers working in small organizations.

The company on Monday also is updating beta versions of the full Visual Studio product family and rolling out Visual Studio .Net 2003 Special Edition, a suite of products featuring a development tool and developer versions of the Windows operating system and SQL Server database.

Debuting at the VSLive! conference in Orlando, Fla. on Monday, Standard Edition is designed for building line-of-business applications for Windows, the Web, or mobile deployments. It works with multiple programming languages such as Visual Basic and Visual C#.

"With the Standard product, we're looking to move the Visual Basic 6.0 developer forward and also looking at Web developers who might be using, say, (Macromedia's) Dreamweaver," for Web development, said Jay Roxe, Microsoft product marketing manager for Visual Studio.

In relation to the Visual Studio product line, the Standard edition fits in between Visual Studio Express products, which have been released in language-specific variants such as versions for C++ and Visual Basic, and the more feature-rich Professional edition.

With its Visual Studio 2005 Standard Edition and other releases, Microsoft seeks to have offerings for various market categories, said analyst Thomas Murphy, vice president at the Meta Group.

"Microsoft (is) trying to kind of build a smooth set of versions to address different segments of the market," Murphy said.

The Visual Studio 2005 products are set for general availability in the first half of next year.

Microsoft on Monday will be releasing refreshed betas for its Visual Studio 2005 products, including the Standard Edition, Professional Edition, Express editions, and the upper end, team-oriented Visual Studio Team System.

Developers working with the new Visual Studio 2005 Team System beta release will be able to use the Team Foundation component, which offers source code control, item tracking, project management, and integration with Microsoft Project and Word. The Team System product focuses on application lifecycle management.

The beta releases will be available on MSDN and to VSLive! attendees.

The Visual Studio .Net 2003 Special Edition features a suite of products including Visual Studio .Net 2003, Windows Server 2003 Developer Edition, and the SQL Server 2000 Developer Edition database. This suite enables developers to build and test data-driven ASP .Net Web applications and Visual Basic applications, according to Microsoft.

Shipping now, the suite is intended for building Web and client applications and takes advantage of the Office application suite, Roxe said. The US$749 price tag makes it US$300 less than the Visual Studio 2003 Professional Edition, he added.

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