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Microsoft Partners Rally Around Visual Studio .NET

A major event for Microsoft Visual Studio .NET kicked off Tuesday, with the Redmond, Wash. software power showing off enhancements for Visual Studio and additional partnerships for its touted development platform.

New additions to the .NET family

At its VSLive! San Francisco 2003 event, Microsoft unleashed public betas of five ASP.NET Starter Kits and a new set of tools -- code-named "Visual Studio Tools for Office" -- to help developers craft Windows-based and Web applications. The sample applications, available here, demonstrate how to create complete products using ASP.NET.

"Visual Studio Tools for Office," allows Visual Studio .NET developers to build solutions based on Microsoft Word and Microsoft Excel documents. It is slated to enter public beta in March.

Microsoft Senior Vice President Eric Rudder was on hand to show how major orgnaizations such as Bear Stearns and Verizon Communications are benefiting from Microsoft .NET. For example, Bear Stearns needed a product to facilitate stock-order-processing functionality residing on an AS/400 system to its developers. Using Visual Studio .NET and the .NET Framework it was able to create Web services to help developers create applications toward that end.

Partnerships and support

The event was more about partnerships and bolstered support for Visual Studio and .NET than it was about airing new products.

Among the software giant's supporters was Borland Software, who launched Optimizeit Profiler for the Microsoft .NET Framework to help developers gauge performance issues in real-time and facilitate application development. Optimizeit Profiler supports all .NET managed code.

Scotts Valley, Calif.'s Borland also agreed to join the Visual Studio .NET Integration Program (VSIP), which includes tools, language and component vendors, independent software vendors, academics and researchers.

Meanwhile, Groove Networks, said its toolkit for the Redmond, Wash. outfit's VS .NET environment is ready for production.

Groove Toolkit for Visual Studio .NET, first announced by the Beverly, Mass. firm last August, makes it easier for developers to create collaborative software for the Groove platform by using the integrated development environment in VS .NET.

Basically, this means developers can create and test Groove applications without leaving the VS .NET environment, making it possible for developers to use the Visual Basic .NET or Visual C# .NET programming languages to create applications that use Groove software's services, including support for on- and off-line use, always-on data synchronization, security and automatic firewall and network address translator (NAT) traversal.

The kit now includes drag-and-drop access from within a VS .NET toolbox to Groove software's data components and synchronization capabilities, and managed code frameworks that make Groove software's API set easier for developers.

The toolkit is available for free download here. Groove Networks expects to ship an updated version of its toolkit that supports Microsoft Visual Studio .NET 2003 by the end of Q2, 2003.

Upstart AmberPoint, an Oakland, Calif. provider of Web services management software, reached an agreement with Microsoft to build and deliver both tools and management technology intended to help customers manage distributed applications based on the .NET Framework. AmberPoint has also joined the Microsoft Visual Studio .NET Integration Program

Microsoft also received a show of support from Infragistics, which said it will ship reusable NetAdvantage 2003 Vol. 1, an integrated toolset for developing the presentation layer for applications, on March 3.

The offering from the East Windsor, N.J. concern will feature components for Microsoft Visual Studio .NET 2003, Microsoft .NET Framework and Microsoft COM and includes major feature enhancements of the ASP.NET Grid and Visual Studio .NET 2003 compatibility.

NetAdvantage 2003 Vol. 1 has an introductory price of $495, NetAdvantage 2003 Vol. 1 with Subscription goes for $695, while the NetAdvantage 2003 Vol. 1 Enterprise Edition retails for $995.