Microsoft Tuesday announced that the latest revision of its premier development suite – Visual Studio 2008, or VS2008 for short – is now generally available.
Developed under the code name "Orcas," the package was actually completed in mid-November, ahead of schedule, and made available to Microsoft Developer Network (MSDN) subscribers for download at that time.
However, this is the first time it is available for volume licensing through resellers and via retail outlets.
"With its inclusion on the January 2008 volume licensing price list, the product is now available to sell and ship to your customers via Open, Select, Enterprise Agreement (EA), and [as] Full Packaged Product," said a blog post by Bruce Kyle, an architect evangelist on the developer and platform evangelism team.
Among the additions in VS2008 is support for Language Integrated Query, or LINQ, which provides the capability to handle query and set operations, such as SQL statements, directly within .NET languages like C# and Visual Basic.
VS2008 also adds the ability to write applications that work with multiple versions of the .NET Framework, including versions 2.0, 3.0, and 3.5, and it provides tools for building applications with a similar look and feel to Office 2007's "ribbon" user interface.
Officially, VS2008 will be launched along with Windows Server 2008 and SQL Server 2008 at a lavish function dubbed "Heroes Happen Here" in Los Angeles on February 27. However, while Windows Server 2008 appears likely to be ready to ship by then, the same cannot be said of SQL Server 2008.
The company disclosed on Friday that final shipment of SQL Server 2008 has slipped until sometime during the third quarter. Meanwhile, Windows Server 2008 has been in "release candidate" testing since early December.