Microsoft officials said earlier this week that they planned to deliver Visual Studio "Orcas" Beta 1 for download some time in April. On April 19, they made good on their word.
Microsoft posted for download Beta 1 of the Professional version of Orcas and accompanying Team System lifecycle-development system tools; the 3.5 release of the .Net Framework; and a first Community Technology Preview (CTP) pre-beta build of the Express version of Orcas for non-professional programmers and hobbyists.
Microsoft execs said earlier this week to expect a Beta 2 of Orcas later this year. The final version of Orcas may be released to manufacturing by the end of calendar 2007, but could slip into 2008, they said.
Orcas is a development tool suite that is aimed at Web, Windows Vista and Longhorn Server developers.