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New Whidbey Tools Hit Market

Microsoft's Visual Studio development application, code-named Whidbey, may only be in beta, but one partner company is wasting no time shipping a toolset that works with the latest features.

Infragistics, a maker of presentation layer development tools, said its flagship NetAdvantage 2004 Volume 3, which just shipped, supports the new look and feel of Visual Studio 2005.

Already, the NetAdvantage refresh Volume 3 has been compiled natively against the 2.0 version of Microsoft's .NET Framework, explained Dean Guida, CEO of the New Jersey-based Infragistics. This means developers can continue to build applications in the early betas of Visual Studio 2005 with the same features and functionality they have with NetAdvantage.

In addition, NetAdvantage supports key features for .NET Framework 2.0, which is also in beta, including out-of-band callbacks, design-time data binding, smart tags support, Snap Lines and GDI text in Windows Forms.

"We committed early to Avalon," Guida added, referring to Microsoft's graphics subsystem that is planned for the next major Windows release. With that in mind, he added, the company is "building a next-generation presentation layer that combines the Internet and Web-based applications with animation and desktop apps, while making sure you have good access to data."

Infragistics' CalcEngine and Formula Builder features in NetAdvantage are also due in December. The CalcEngine helps developers take any data feed and build separate interfaces from the same feed. The idea with the latest tools is to help the end user see data displayed within any element after it is calculated as specified by the application, officials explained.

Premium subscribers to the company's NetAdvantage tools will also have access to the CalcEngine source code once the final version is shipped in December, Guida added.

"You'll be able to learn from the code and add benefits as a business driver," he said.

The idea of shipping the source code means the customer will own all the code it deploys.

"It's a security/safe-harbor feature that takes away that concern companies have about building on a customers' platform, then wondering what happens if the company is no longer around."

Guida said the company is protecting its own IP and copyright through the license, which stipulates that customers can't create a work that would compete with Infragistics.

The company's latest toolset arrives at a time when more companies are embracing Web services and service-oriented architecture.

A recent survey of major enterprises by Yankee Group found a significant majority planned an investment in service oriented architecture and Web services tools over the next year, with Microsoft seen as an early leader in the space with its .NET Framework, followed by IBM, whose middleware is based on the competing J2EE platform.