Microsoft plans to ease the way from VB to Visual Studio.Net

Users will get a roadshow and a CD to help them move to the new developer environment, but Microsoft admits that the next version must have an easier entry point for newbies

On 22 April, Microsoft will run a free day's seminar in the UK for users upgrading to Visual Studio .Net. This is part of a nine-country tour, intended to woo armchair developers and small businesses who may be hesitating to adopt the new technology. More than 350,000 copies of Visual Studio .Net have been shipped since launch, with about half the users in the corporate world, and the rest made up of small businesses or hobbyists. "Big corporations are diving in, but small businesses and hobbyists are slower," said Ari Bixhorn, Microsoft's Visual Basic .Net product manager. A US marketing tour has concentrated on Visual Basic user groups, which tend to include the smaller businesses and hobbyists. The next version of Visual Studio .Net will include a novice user option that hides many of the more confusing features, said Bixhorn: "We have heard this demand loud and clear from customers. In the next version we will simplify things." While Microsoft has not given any date yet for the next version, it is expected to take 12 to 18 months, so it will not arrive until early 2003. The day will include a CD with upgrade information and advice, samples and video tutorials. The event is intended to address the options that users have to either move VBscript, ASP and other code to .Net, or coexist with the new environment, according to Bixhorn. "There has been a perception that users must upgrade or be steamrollered, but actually there are options to co-exist or upgrade slowly," he said.


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