Microsoft Trolls for More Whidbey Users

Looking to gain more support for its vaunted next-generation development
platform, Microsoft Wednesday introduced a series of
programs to lure customers to Visual Studio 2005.

The Redmond, Wash. software giant, which formerly called its pending development studio Whidbey, unveiled a Community Technology Preview initiative for Visual Studio 2005, offering pre-release versions of the software to garner feedback from customers on its tools.

Microsoft says it relies heavily on customer feedback for products in development to ensure stability and is loathe to release a product until it has feels it has been sufficiently battle tested.

For example, earlier this month, the company said Visual Studio 2005 and SQL Server 2005 (code-named Yukon) would be delayed until the first half of 2005 to undergo additional testing, including a
third Yukon beta.

Microsoft is expected
to release a “beta-style working version” of Whidbey this week at the
company’s VSLive! show in San Francisco. Ari Bixhorn, Microsoft’s product
manager for Visual Studio .NET, told last month the
beta will be more mature than previous test releases from the company.

In the meantime, Microsoft has pledged to continue to let customers and developers poke and prod its in-development products through beta tests. The new Visual Studio 2005 programs are a testament to that.

The goal of the Community Technology Preview is to let developers work more closely with Visual Studio 2005. MSDN Universal subscribers and attendees at developer conferences will receive the previews, including the attendees of VSLive! San Francisco 2004.

In addition to the community preview, the vendor said it would offer the ASP.NET Issue Tracker Starter Kit and the DotNetNuke Portal 2.0 to help make Web development easier. DotNetNuke consists of 30 people who contribute in key project areas depending on their specific skill set.

The portal addresses user membership, role management, and content authoring and management, as well as tools for site promotion and search engine optimization, banner advertising, and affiliate relationship management.

Microsoft has also issued VSIP SDK 2003 Extras, which enables Visual Studio Industry Partner (VSIP) program members to integrate with Visual Studio using managed code and new wizards.

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