Microsoft Showcases, Bolsters Developer Community Ecosystem

SAN FRANCISCO, March 24, 2004 — Microsoft Corp. today announced a series of programs to involve customers in the development of Microsoft Visual Studio 2005 (formerly code-named “Whidbey”), foster community development and empower its partners. Specifically, Microsoft announced the following:

  • The Community Technology Preview initiative for Visual Studio 2005 offering prerelease versions of Visual Studio 2005 to facilitate earlier and more in-depth feedback from customers on Microsofts developer tools

  • Two new ASP.NET resources for Web developers to further increase their productivity: the Issue Tracker Starter Kit and the DotNetNuke Portal 2.0

  • VSIP SDK 2003 Extras, which enables Visual Studio Industry Partner (VSIP) program members to customize, extend and integrate with Visual Studio using managed code

  • In a separate announcement, Microsoft announced it has signed an agreement with Business Objects Software Ltd. to ship Crystal Reports, the award-winning reporting solution from Business Objects, with the next version of Microsoft Visual Studio, Visual Studio 2005.

The announcements underscore the collective success of Windows and Web developers, partners and customers all participating in the Microsoft developer ecosystem.

Community Technology Preview Enables Customers to Help Drive the Development of Visual Studio 2005

As part of the companys expanding efforts to involve the developer community in the product development cycle, Microsoft announced the Community Technology Preview initiative, which enables customers to get frequent updates to prerelease versions of Visual Studio 2005 — even in between full beta drops — so they can work more closely with Microsoft on Visual Studio 2005 as it develops. MSDN Universal subscribers and thousands of attendees at various upcoming developer conferences will receive Community Technology Previews, including the attendees of Fawcette Technical Publications VSLive! San Francisco 2004.

“Satisfying customers is our top priority. Microsoft is implementing the Community Technology Previews to gather additional product feedback from our customers and ensure that Visual Studio 2005 incorporates the highest levels of stability and overall product quality,” said Eric Rudder, senior vice president of the Servers and Tools Business at Microsoft. “We have an abiding commitment to empowering developers to succeed using our tools, and to making our platform highly extensible so that partners can maximize the opportunities provided by the Microsoft platform.”

New ASP.NET Starter Kits Get Portal and Issue Tracking Web Sites Up Fast

Building on the existing ASP.NET Starter Kits, The DotNetNuke community consists of 30 people from a variety of technical and business backgrounds who contribute in key project areas depending on their specific skill set. This extensible community portal designed for developers and Web hosters contains all the key features required to operate a Web site including user membership, role management, and content authoring and management, as well as tools for site promotion and search engine optimization, banner advertising, and affiliate relationship management. DotNetNuke was built from using the Portal Starter Kit and is available for download from .

Visual Studio Industry Partners Can Now Use Managed Code to Extend Visual Studio

VSIP Extras provides developers and partners with managed code support and new wizards to harness the power of managed code for developing Visual Studio .NET extensions. VSIP SDK 2003 Extras is available on the newly launched Visual Studio Extensibility Center at , which provides information on the various ways to customize, extend and integrate with the Visual Studio environment.

“We have been very impressed with VSIP Extras as it greatly increases developer productivity. In our experience, the combination of VSIP Extras and the designers available through Visual Studio represents an unprecedented degree of openness for a development environment,” said Enda Brennan, chief operating officer of Sekos.

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Partners and Their Customers Realize Return on Investment

The following partners and their customers have seen return on their investment in Microsoft Visual Studio.

  • MediVia manages more than 80,000 medical education meetings and promotional events each year and needed a robust and productive solution to standardize its system across service areas. It turned to FMS Inc., whose tools integrate with Microsoft Visual Studio .NET 2003. FMS planned a cutting-edge solution with open architecture based on the Microsoft .NET Framework. This solution replaced MediVias existing system of multiple, disconnected 4-D databases. Today, the centralized structure is highly scalable using Microsoft SQL Server 2000, an extensive Windows Forms client application built on the .NET Framework and running on Microsoft Windows 2000 Server.

  •, a portal providing information and services for people moving to Spain, announced an exponential growth in traffic and overall popularity since its launch in November 2003. By choosing telerik r.a.d.controls component suite and the Microsoft .NET Framework to connect information, people, systems and devices through Web services, a single developer at Just Landed managed to build a comprehensive content management system portal in less than four months. It enabled the company to quickly aggregate more than 200 pages of information and delegate its content management entirely to nontechnical personnel. Just Landed decided to harness the power of the Microsoft .NET Framework and Microsoft Visual Studio .NET 2003, and telerik r.a.d.controls suite of Microsoft ASP.NET components.

  • Electric Insurance Co. brought in an application called ServiceBuilder from Microsoft partner ClientSoft Inc. that enables integration of the mainframe and Web platforms. ClientSoft and partner Decision Research Corp. (DRC) provided a solution that enabled Electric Insurance to jump from the mainframe using a SOAP request and a WSDL Web service, and then package the XML into the DRC engine. Electric Insurance anticipates that the company will institute 60 to 70 pricing changes next year. The payoff could be an increase of revenue by as much as 30 percent.

  • Les Schwab Tire Centers, the largest independent tire manufacturer in the Western United States, used Iron Speed Designer to quickly build a custom job openings/job applicants tracking system. For years, the store managers and assistant managers at every one of the 360 stores updated the intranet data by e-mailing or faxing information to the company developers and then waited for them to input the data. Because this was just one of many document-centric activities at the company, the IT team was moving everything to Microsoft Internet Information Services (IIS) and the Microsoft .NET Framework to automate functions, improve service to store management, and save time and money on all ends of the process.

Visual Studio .NET 2003 and the .NET Framework — Customer Success Today

  • A proven leader in online dating services, LP found that its implementation as a huge ASP 3.0 site was harder to modify and debug than the team would have liked. In a total of eight months, the team reimplemented and improved the site in Visual C# with Microsoft ASP.NET. They deployed the new site on 45 computers running Microsoft Windows Server 2003, replacing 104 servers running the Windows 2000 operating system. The new site runs at twice the speed of the old one. “Weve seen a huge business savings, and will continue to do so because we can offer extremely fast development cycles,” said Jason Alexander, technical development lead at “Given the richness of the Microsoft .NET Framework and the productivity of Visual Studio .NET, were able to expand on our previous feature set and easily refactor, debug and maintain existing code.”

  • When Riverdeep Interactive Learning Ltd. wanted to write new features for The Print Shop in Visual C#, it did not want to have to convert the entire 20-year-old C++ code base of the Print Shop forward into managed code at once. The existing 1.4 million lines of code were not structured well enough to turn into COM components or to convert into managed Visual C++. Riverdeep hit on the unorthodox approach of hosting the Microsoft .NET Common Language Runtime inside its Microsoft Foundation Classes-based Visual C++ application. “We found that Visual C# and the .NET Framework are a lot better than we could have imagined,” said Grant BlahaErath, chief architect at Riverdeep.

  • Indy Racing League (IRL) LLC, a racing division that includes the Indy 500 and other high-profile, open-wheel races, uses state-of-the-art technology to remain a leader in the world of motor sports. At the request of racing teams, IRL officials, car manufacturers and the media, IRL sought a new application with which to gather and analyze real-time scoring and timing information from the racetrack. IRL used the Microsoft Visual Studio .NET 2003 Enterprise Architect development system, the Visual Basic development system, and the .NET Framework to create a new application to visualize the race data in real time. “We chose Visual Studio .NET for its ease and speed of use and because it could deliver the functionality required by the teams,” said Tom Brooks, project developer at IRL.

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