Microsoft touts Dynamic IT for upping developer productivity

Microsoft hopes to reverse the 80-20 time split that has developers doing maintenance more than building new software; Silverlight also hailed at the VSLive conference

Microsoft preached its 2008 Dynamic IT vision at the VSLive conference in the US Monday and also touted its Silverlight presentation technology.

Dynamic IT focuses on three recently announced products: the Visual Studio 2008 software development platform, Windows Server 2008 operating system and SQL Server database. All were formally introduced on February 27 although Visual Studio 2008, for its part, was available several months' earlier.

"It's about getting away from manual processes," said Jason Zander, general manager of the developer division at Microsoft.

With the initiative, Microsoft is focused on reversing the 80-20 split that has developers mostly dealing with maintenance instead of building new software.

"Our Dynamic IT initiative is about trying to switch that around," Zander said.

Microsoft with Dynamic IT has introduced technologies like virtualization and also offers security, he said. Web and developer productivity as well as business intelligence also are key, according to Zander. Windows Server Hyper-V virtualization currently is in a beta release with general availability in six months, said Zander.

With Visual Studio 2008, Microsoft added productivity enhancements to make it easy to write compelling-looking applications, he said. Productivity has been improved through such technologies as LINQ (Language Integrated Query), which makes it simple to replace boilerplate code with understandable syntax, Zander said.

Also featured in Visual Studio 2008 is ASP.Net AJAX technology, for AJAX development, and collaboration via Visual Studio and the Microsoft Expression Studio tool.

Silverlight, Zander said, "makes it easy for you to write rich client applications in the browser." The technology is being used by clients like NBC Olympics.

"We're expecting to have more than 3,000 hours' worth of content streamed live from Beijing," this summer, said Zander.

The new Siverlight 2 upgrade adds Microsoft's Common Language Runtime to enable use of different programming languages, such as IronRuby. But Visual Basic and C# are expected to be the primary languages for Silverlight, Zander said.

"The biggest new thing that we added for Silverlight 2 that was not in the previous version is controls," for capabilities like data grid and calendaring, said Zander.

Microsoft also has released a Power Toy utility providing LINQ capabilities for Microsoft Outlook. "It's a LINQ query provider that's built on top of the DASL APIs," Zander said.

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