Backed by supporting applications at major banks and corporations, Microsoft has formerly launched Visual Studio .NET and the .NET framework, the application development tool and platform for building Web-based services using .NET applications.
Hailed as the most significant product launch in the Microsoft .NET era, Microsoft chief software architect Bill Gates unveiled the new tools at the VSLive! 2002 Conference in San Francisco.
Gates kicked off events around the world and lauded these products as key to the development of a future generation of XML Web services. Visual Studio .NET and the .NET Framework are the first software projects entirely overseen by Gates as Microsoft’s chief software architect.
He says: “We view Visual Studio .NET as the key to the next big wave of developer opportunity, creating the XML Web services that will soon become the basis for all major new software development.”
In the UK, Mark Greatorex, director of the .NET Developer Group, at Microsoft, welcomed UK press, analysts and customers at the Natural History Museum and highlighted several UK customer deployments on .NET, including Marks & Spencer, Hogg Robinson, The Bank of New York and Nationwide Building Society.
He says these users have already experienced productivity gains and improved application development cycles using the new development tools.
Marks & Spencer previewed a new .NET application, built using Microsoft Visual Studio .NET that identifies fraudulent credit card activity and alerts loss prevention investigators within minutes. Martin Wilkinson, profit protection manager, Marks & Spencer says: “With Visual Studio .NET, we can produce applications that deliver C++ performance, but in Visual Basic timescales.”
Stephen Richardson, chief operating officer Europe, The Bank of New York, concurs. He says the bank is using Visual Studio .NET to deliver current and future enhancements to Rufus, BoNY's UK and European fund administration platform. "Visual Studio .NET's tools will enable The Bank of New York to speedily and efficiently develop these enhancements and meet our strategic objectives in pan-European fund servicing," he says.
Nationwide Building Society translated a legacy application, representing almost 40 man-years of effort, at a cost of only one man-year using Visual Studio .NET. Dave Green, senior consultant architecture, Nationwide says: “The key reason that Nationwide has undertaken this effort is to be able to retire the proprietary material involved in the current live system in favour of that provided out of the box with Visual Studio .NET. Not only does it remove some 200,000 lines of C++ from the maintenance roster, but also the .NET equivalent infrastructure is more powerful, with better support for scaling and stateless operation than the current live system.”
Microsoft says the products enjoyed one of the broadest beta adoptions of a pre-release product ever. More than 3.5 million copies of Visual Studio .NET and the .NET Framework were distributed during beta testing. Since its availability in January to MSDN® developer program subscribers, 350,000 customers have received the released version of these products.
Gates’ keynote also highlighted news that Microsoft released new Web services toolkits for BizTalk Server 2002 and SQL Server 2000 for integrating with Visual Studio .NET. The BizTalk Server Toolkit for Microsoft .NET will provide additional support for orchestrating XML Web services through its integration with Visual Studio .NET. The SQL Server 2000 Web services toolkit will enable developers to easily use Visual Studio .NET to extend the capabilities of applications built on SQL Server 2000.
Gates also announced three new partners that will provide developer tools products integrated with Visual Studio .NET: Computer Associates, Groove Networks, and SAP. Two prominent application development companies announced their tools for the .NET Framework, including Borland Software and Macromedia.