Microsoft announces Project 2010 beta

Enhancements to the project-management application include improvements to the user interface based on the Office ribbon technology

Microsoft has announced that the latest beta of its Project application will be available later this year with the full release set for first half of next year.

Interested parties can register for the beta now.

The availability of the first public beta of Microsoft Project 2010 was announced on Wednesday at the Microsoft Project Conference 2009, in Phoenix, Arizona. Microsoft said the latest version of its project software will be released in three versions: Microsoft Project Standard 2010, Microsoft Project Professional 2010 and Microsoft Project Server 2010.

"Microsoft Project 2010 is the most significant release of Microsoft Project in over a decade," said Chris Capossela, senior vice president of the Information Worker Product Management Group at Microsoft. "Microsoft Project 2010 will enable teams and organisations of all sizes to select and deliver the right projects on time and on budget."

Collaboration in Project 2010 is new and will be built around Microsoft Sharepoint 2010. The product will also feature integration with Microsoft Outlook 2007 and 2010. The software maker also claimed the new release will be more scalable than before, will feature 64-bit compatibility and will no longer be dependent on ActiveX.

Seth Patton, senior marketing director for Microsoft Project, told ZDNet UK's sister site, ZDNet.com, that the company had tried to improve the usability of Project with the latest release in an effort to attract novice users to the product and grab a larger slice of the project-management market.

In a video overview of the new software at the launch on Wednesday, Patton said that since its launch in 1987, Microsoft Project had changed from being a basic desktop scheduling tool to a full project-management suite, with the new Microsoft Office 'Fluent' ribbon user interface.