Microsoft has posted to its Codeplex repository site a test build of Python Tools for Visual Studio, a free, open-source plug-in for VS 2010.
The add-in, developed by Microsoft's Technical Computing Group, "enables developers to use all the major productivity features of Visual Studio to build Python code using either CPython or IronPython and adds new features such as using High Performance Computing clusters to scale your code," according to the Codeplex page for the project. "Together with one of the standard distros, you can turn Visual Studio into a powerful Technical Computing IDE (integrated development environment), the site adds.
PTVS, as it is known for short, is not a Python distribution, as Microsoft notes. Instead it works with existing Python and IronPython ones.
(Last year, Microsoft decided not to continue developing IronPython and IronRuby as Microsoft products, and made the code bases available to the community.)
Microsoft is delivering Beta 1 in conjunction with PyCon, which kicked off on March 7. The first beta includes support for core IDE features and debugging and profiling. Beta 2, due in summer 2011, will add Azure and the "Big Data" support via an Azure implementation of Google's MapReduce (according to reader "pnewhook").
Update: Microsoft officials said the original timetable descriptions were off. Here's what's coming, as of Beta 2: Support for Cloud Computing (the ability to run compute-intensive Python code in Azure); and support for Dryad (large-scale, data intensive parallel programming using Python code).
The target release to manufacturing date for PTVS is fall 2011, according to the Web page.
(Thanks to Microsoft's @jon_perera for the pointer to PTVS.)