Developers seek third beta for Visual Studio 2005

After having been stalled several times already, it would seem that the last thing developers would want for the Visual Studio 2005 toolset is another delay. Nonetheless, a request from some developers for a new beta release would, if granted, potentially hold back the product set yet again.

Microsoft, however, is sticking to its guns, eyeing a planned November 7 release date. The product set was to have been released in the second half of 2004, but the date slipped to the first and then second half of 2005.

In launching an effort for a third beta release, developers are citing bugs and performance issues with existing prereleases. A suggestion posted on the MSDN Product Feedback Center seeks support for a third beta release of Visual Studio 2005 and Visual Studio 2005 Team System in late September.

"Push back RTM (release to manufacturing) if you have to," the online suggestion states. "RTM December 31st or push it to 2006 (just keep the 2005 name then, no big deal)."

The release-to-manufacturing date signifies the product's impending general availability for customers.

"There are still way too many bugs and performance issues. Too many issues get resolved as 'postponed,'" the online request continued. "Developers won't care about when the RTM date was a few months after RTM if the product is full of bugs."

Seventy-two people had voted on the suggestion as of Friday afternoon.

"I would much rather that Microsoft push this release back and get things right," according to one person who commented.

"A Beta 3 is absolutely required," stated another person who signed the petition. "There are so many outstanding bugs and issues that a Beta 3 is required to ensure stability of the final release."

Microsoft released a prepared statement via e-mail Friday noting the planned November 7 release date.

"Microsoft appreciates feedback from all users. For this version of Visual Studio, Microsoft has continually solicited product feedback by issuing multiple betas and Community Technology Previews (CTPs) and encouraging the community to provide feedback via the MSDN Product Feedback Center. The community of 6 million Visual Studio developers and more than 240 Visual Studio Industry Partners (VSIP) have been providing a great deal of valuable feedback and telling Microsoft that they are very excited [about] the November 7 launch."

A Microsoft representative said in e-mails that the company may have more information to share about the issue on Monday, but added that Visual Studio 2005 still is on track to meet its launch date.

One commenter on the MSDN page was against further delaying Visual Studio 2005.

"I'd love to see a Beta 3 that has the majority of bugs fixed," the commenter said. "But we've been waiting for VS 2005 way too long. It's been pushed back three months too many times. If you push it back another three months, it won't just be shipping a stable product three months late -- it'll be making a late product even later. I do think that doing a solid product by the November RTM is doable."

Visual Studio 2005 is intended to reduce the volume of coding required and improve performance. The Team System component features application lifecycle management.

The SQL Server 2005 database, which had been codenamed "Yukon," also is set for release on November 7.

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Paul Krill

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