Microsoft has released a preview for Orcas, the successor to Visual Studio 2005. The CTP, or Community Technical Preview, can be downloaded here.
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"This CTP targets early adopters of the Microsoft technology, platform, and tools offerings," Microsoft wrote on the Orcas CTP download page. "It enables developers to experience the upcoming toolset and underlying platform improvements. We designed this release to enable developers try out new technology and product changes, but not to build production systems."
Orcas will be compatible with Windows Vista and Office 2007. It is due to be shipped in late 2007 or early 2008.
The CTP includes partial support for C# 3.0 and VB 9.0, which are updated versions of Microsoft's main .NET programming languages. It also features tighter integration with Visual Studio Team System, both for load and unit testing and for device development; the ability to build and debug Vista applications; the ability to create document specific customizations in Word and Office 2007, and several changes to the .NET Framework.
Microsoft said it is releasing this CTP as a Virtual PC image so developers can use it without impacting their existing software installations.