Microsoft doesn't always deliver products late. Sometimes the company ships even gargantuan products a little early. That's the case this month, as company officials announced at Microsoft's TechEd Developer event in Barcelona, Spain, that Visual Studio 2008 is on track to ship by the end of the month.
One key addition in Visual Studio 2008 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.
Microsoft also announced plans to release the .NET Framework 3.5 alongside Visual Studio. The company said the .NET Framework provides developers the code to create connected apps for Windows Vista, Windows Server 2008, the 2007 Microsoft Office system, mobile devices and the Web.
"Traditionally, organizations have been hard pressed to deliver the richer, more connected applications and services they need to boost productivity, drive revenue and stay ahead of the competition," said S. Somasegar, corporate vice president of Microsoft's Developer Division, in a statement. "With Visual Studio 2008 and the .NET Framework 3.5, it is easy for developers to use the skills they already have to build compelling applications that take advantage of the latest platforms."
The .NET Framework release comes a month after Microsoft said it would provide its source code for debugging use under its Microsoft Reference License.
Somasegar used the event to discuss the more liberal terms in Visual Studio's licensing structure, which will allow developers to use it to target platforms other than Windows.
"Some of our partners have needs to target multiple platforms ... [so] we are going to remove license restrictions with Visual Studio and the Visual Studio SDK to enable you to use the Visual Studio IDE and build applications that target the platform of your choice," he said in a blog post following his speech.
The company also said it plans to create "a shared source licensing program for Premier-level partners in the Visual Studio Industry Partner program [that will let them] view Visual Studio IDE source code for debugging purposes [to] simplify … integrating their products with Visual Studio 2008."
Additionally, Somasegar announced the first community technology preview, or CTP, of the Microsoft Sync Framework, a synchronization platform that will enable developers to create collaboration features and provide offline access for applications, services and devices.
Finally, the company announced it is shipping a new version of Popfly Explorer, an add-in to Visual Studio, that lets a developer add a Silverlight gadget created with Popfly to a Web page, and to publish that Web page to Popfly. Microsoft announced the public beta of Popfly, a mashup tool for its Silverlight cross-browser, cross-platform, streaming media technology, in mid-October.
Microsoft began beta two testing of Visual Studio 2008 and .NET Framework 3.5 in late July. And many observers had expected it by the end of the year, although its official rollout is slated to coincide with the launch of Windows Server 2008 and SQL Server 2008 in Los Angeles on Feb. 27, 2008.