Testers to get Visual Studio 2010 Beta 2 this week; final by March 2010

Microsoft is making what may be the last beta of Visual Studio 2010 and the accompanying .Net Framework 4 before they launch next March available to testers this week, company officials said.

Microsoft is making what may be the last beta of Visual Studio 2010 and the accompanying .Net Framework 4 before they launch next March available to testers this week, company officials said.

MSDN testers will be able to download Beta 2 on October 19. Microsoft plans to open the beta to the public on October 21. The company is planning to launch the final version of its latest development suite on March 22, 2010, officials said. Microsoft's goal is to deliver the actual bits by that date, not just to hold a launch.

Microsoft launched Beta 1 of Visual Studio 2010 and .Net 4 in May.This past summer, Microsoft officials told partners to expect the marketing/training/sales push for Visual Studio 2010 to begin in April 2010, so it sounds like the development is running on schedule.

Microsoft is positioning Visual Studio 2010 as its tool platform to support Windows 7, Windows Server 2008 R2, Azure, SQL Server, Office 2010 and SharePoint 2010. Support for SharePoint 2010 is new, as of Beta 2, officials confirmed. SharePoint is the "fastest growing platform, from a developer mindset," for Microsoft at this point, said Dave Mendlen, Senior Director of Developer Marketing.

Visual Studio 2010 also includes new drag and drop bindings for Silverlight and Windows Presentation Foundation; interoperability with the ASP.Net model view controller (MVC), better multicore support and UML support.

Microsoft is touting .Net 4 as being 81 percent smaller than its predecessors, making it quicker and easier to download and install. Also unlike its predecessors, .Net 4 can be installed side-by-side with the previously released .Net 3.5. It adds support for the Microsoft Dynamic Language Runtime (DLR), giving programmers more language choices; and is more suited for parallel-programming, workflow-centric and service-oriented application development, according to the company.

"Beta 2 is not about dramatic changes to the features but is more about improvements to the performance and quality," said Soma Somasegar, Senior Vice President of Microsoft's Developer Division.

Microsoft officials also shared on October 19 more details about the planned packaging and pricing for Visual Studio 2010. Microsoft is cutting the number of SKUs of Visual Studio to four main ones, and is doing away with the database, architect and test versions. The four:

  • Visual Studio 2010 Ultimate with MSDN. Includes all of the current Visual Studio Team System functionality. $11,924 for a new license ; $3,841 for a renewal
  • Visual Studio 2010 Premium with MSDN. $5,469 new; $2,299 renewal
  • Visual Studio 2010 Professional with MSDN. $1,199 new; $799 renewal
  • Visual Studio 2010 Professional without MSDN. $799

MSDN subscribers will be getting unlimited access to Visual Studio Team Foundation Server 2010 (upon release), its team-collaboration server; a set (variable) number of compute hours per month for Windows Azure development; and up to 40 hours per year of e-learning classes per subscriber.

To attempt to get developers to move to MSDN Premium before Visual Studio 2010 launches, Microsoft has created the Ultimate Offer for VS developers. Anyone who is an active subscriber to MSDN Premium by the time Visual Studio 2010 launches next March will be transitioned automatically to the next higher level VS 2010 SKU with an MSDN subscription at launch.

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