Microsoft ponders new Web development tool

Microsoft is evaluating whether to include a new tool for building ASP.Net 2.0-based Web sites in the next major version of Visual Studio, a company representative said on Tuesday.

The command-line tool, called Blinq, enables Web developers to quickly build an ASP.Net 2.0-based Web site with data from a SQL Server database, a Microsoft representative said. It is currently available as a prototype.

"Just point Blinq at a SQL database, and it will create a Web site with pages that display sorted and paged data, allow you to update or delete records, create new records, and follow relationships between tables in your database," according to a Web page (http://www.asp.net/sandbox/app_blinq.aspx?tabid=62) authored by Polita Paulus, a developer on Microsoft's ASP.Net team. Developers using Blinq do not need to write SQL queries.

The technology automates common tasks typically involved in displaying data in a Web site. Developers can generate a working Web site to serve as a starting point for building a customized data site as an example for LINQ queries. LINQ (.Net Language Integrated Query) features extensions to the .Net Framework that save developers from having to learn separate query syntaxes to query over data domains such as XML.

Microsoft is not providing any formal support for Blinq and has no plans to refresh the prototype. "Our goal with this prototype is to get community feedback as we consider this as a possible feature in Visual Studio Orcas," Microsoft's representative said. Orcas is expected to ship some time after the planned 2007 release of Windows Vista and the 2007 Office system.

The May Community Technology Preview of LINQ is required to use the current version of Blinq.

Also in the Microsoft development tools realm, Teamprise (http://www.teamprise.com/) on Tuesday began offering a maintenance upgrade to its Teamprise Client Suite. Teamprise's offering enables developers working on non-Microsoft-specific platforms, such as Linux, Eclipse, or Java, to utilize Microsoft's Visual Studio 2005 Team Foundation Server workflow collaboration engine for application lifecycle management.

Version 1.1 of Teamprise features support for NTLM (Windows NT LAN Manager) Version 2 authentication as well as the capability to be deployed on Intel-based Macintosh clients. The subsequent Version 2.0 release, due in October, expands source control functionality and lets work items be fully edited and created from inside the Eclipse IDE, said Corey Steffen, general manager at Teamprise.

Version 2.0 will enable creation of new bug reports and it supports the branch and shelf features for source control. Branch allows for making copies of source code in the repository; shelf is a way for an individual developer to save changes.

Teamprise provides the ability to use Team Foundation Server as a unified repository for software projects being developed on multiple platforms.

"Basically, what we're finding is most of the large enterprise corporations of the world have a large percentage of .Net developers inside the corporation, but they also have a large percentage of either Java developers or Linux developers and they want to be able to standardize on this," Steffen said.

Teamprise costs $US499 per user. Current owners of Version 1.0 will receive versions 1.1 and 2.0 automatically at no additional cost.

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