Visual Studio 2005 may not ship until 2006

Visual Studio 2005 may be delayed yet again.

Shipment of the much-delayed upgrade to Microsoft's tools platform, code-named "Whidbey," may slip again into next year, according to Marc Brown, director of product marketing at Microsoft ISV partner Borland Software. From what Borland hears from Microsoft, the Visual Studio 2005 suite will ship either at the end of this year or at the beginning of 2006, Brown said.

At the Microsoft TechEd 2005 conference this week in Orlando, Florida, Borland will demonstrate a version of its CalibreRM requirements management package geared for Visual Studio 2005 Team System.

"Certainly, I think Microsoft will have news on when Visual Studio Team System ships," when the conference is held, Brown said.

A Microsoft representative late last week stuck to the party line on the ship date for Visual Studio 2005. "Microsoft is expected to release Visual Studio 2005 during the second half of calendar year 2005," the representative said in an e-mail response to an inquiry. However, the representative also noted, "Shipping schedules are ultimately determined by customer feedback."

Whidbey had been due in the second half of last year, but the target date slipped to the first half of 2005 and then the second half. The suite is an ambitious endeavor, however, with updates to the .Net Framework and the ASP.Net Web hosting environment, said analyst Greg DeMichillie, senior analyst at Directions on Microsoft.

"This is a much more aggressive upgrade than past versions. Team System in particular has lagged behind the rest of Visual Studio all the way along" in beta releases, DeMichillie said.

"I wouldn't be surprised to see that Team System in particular is having problems keeping to a 2005 ship date," DeMichillie said. Team System offers advances in modeling design tools as well as in team-based development, he said.

Microsoft must delve into application lifecycle management with Team System because its previous major partner on this technology, Rational Software, was acquired by Microsoft competitor IBM, DeMichillie said.

"In a way, that [acquisition] drove Microsoft to devise its own alternative, because they couldn't count on Rational to be a strategic partner anymore," DeMichillie said. But with Microsoft's non-UML (Unified Modeling Language) approach to modeling, Team System may be a tough sell to some customers, he said.

"It makes it harder to appeal to customers who have already bought into UML," DeMichillie said. Team System uses Microsoft's Software Factories technology for model-driven development.

Rational, however, said through a representative that it plans to continue its support of .Net. Rational's change management product for .Net is RequisitePro.

Borland's version of CalibreRM for Team System is expected to ship early in 2006, shortly after Team System is available, Brown said. "One of the things that Microsoft [will] not deliver as part of its Visual Studio Team System is requirements management capabilities. They actually came to Borland to satisfy that requirement," Brown said.

CalibreRM will manage application requirements including functional and user needs. "This will be a specific version for Visual Studio Team System that's been seamlessly integrated into the Visual Studio Team System data warehouse," Brown said. CalibreRM for Team System will cost about US$2,000 per user.

Microsoft at TechEd plans to detail enhancements to Visual Studio 2005, according to an e-mail from the company. Microsoft last week went public with changes to the platform, such as the addition of Edit and Continue support for changing code while debugging in Visual C#.

More than 11,000 customers, partners, and analysts have registered for the sold-out conference, Microsoft said.

In addition to Borland, partners such as Compuware and Infragistics will highlight their own products at the show.

Compuware will demonstrate the integration of its DevPartner and QACenter application lifecycle management products with Visual Studio 2005 Team System. The planned DevPartner Studio Professional Edition Version 8.0 product offers enhanced support for Web services and features performance analysis capabilities. The planned TestPartner 5.4 testing component of QACenter will provide functional and regression testing for Team System.

Infragistics will announce shipment of NetAdvantage 2005 Volume 2, a tool set for building the presentation layer on Windows Forms, ASP.Net, Tablet PC, and COM applications. Improvements were added to the Windows Forms tree, grid, and chart features, as well as to the ASP.Net grid and chart features.

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Paul Krill

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