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Microsoft signs up helpers to deploy .Net

More than 100 third-party vendors have signed up - several of them to help with the tricky issue of testing

Developing applications around Microsoft's .Net initiative may sound easy enough, but in reality it can be hard work. Just ask the more than 100 third-party vendors populating the exposition at Microsoft's TechEd conference here this week.

Two of the vendors, VMWare and InCert Software, have solutions to help developers with the rather thorny issue of testing and deploying applications. VMWare is demonstrating the latest version of its virtualisation software that enables developers to build and deploy any application in a fully functional virtual environment.

The VMware GSX Server for Windows, released in beta this month, enables developers to work together on an application and also allows development teams to save on buying additional systems. With Visual Studio 6 firmly entrenched, VMWare officials recognize that developers won't want to replace that environment completely or buy a whole new workstation as Visual Studio.Net starts appearing.

".Net is a huge opportunity for us," said Darryl Ramm, director of advanced technology marketing for VMWare. "If developers are already running [Visual Studio6] and they really need to be running 7.0, they don't want to throw away that production environment."

VMWare's technology also comes in a more advanced server version (for Windows and Linux) as well as workstation versions, which officials said are useful to help IT managers test applications and practice deployments in a less risky environment. VMWare also is used in training environments, and this week the company is announcing a program for Microsoft Certified Trainers as well as a giveaway of 1,000 free copies here at TechEd.

Also helping developers in the deployment stage is InCert, of Cambridge, Mass., which this week is releasing its new bug-tracking software, TraceBhack 2.0, with enhanced C++ and C# support and new Visual Basic 5 and 6 support.

TraceBack agents monitor application crashes and can pinpoint the spot where an application failed. The key feature of the new VB support is the ability for developers to see into VB source code, which otherwise is only accessible through the VB IDE.

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