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At VSLive!: Microsoft outlines productivity improvements in VB 2005

Better client-side development for VB is said to be in store. Also on tap: Easier Web app building.

Microsoft Corp. continued to emphasize the role of XML-oriented Web services software at VSLive! 2005 in San Francisco, as it further detailed plans for service-oriented software architectures supported by its upcoming Visual Studio tools release.

At the conference, Eric Rudder, senior vice president, Servers and Tools, Microsoft, said an "Indigo" community technology preview (CTP) was slated for March 2005.

Still in its early stages, Indigo appears to be a collection of best practices and relevant standards established during the first few years of Web services development. Easier development to these standards is supported by the new tools.

Indigo will add important new Web service standards for security, encryption and guaranteed delivery of messages, said Chris Flores, product manager, Microsoft Visual Studio. Flores also noted important Visual Basic enhancements due for the flagship Microsoft Visual Studio tool set.

Better client-side development for VB is in store, said Flores, via what he called "Smart Client" support. Easier Web site and Web app building is also on tap, he said.

"Historically it has been the VB developer that has created most of the rich client applications you see in Windows today," said Flores. He noted that the late-'90s surge in Web development led application development managers to favor browser-based clients, rather than rich clients, and the browser-based nodes were not easily handled in VB.

"With Visual Studio 2005's Click-Once capability, you right-click on a project and Visual Studio packages the application and its dependencies and publishes it to a location of your choice," Flores said.

"It can be a Web server, or file server, or even a CD," he continued. An application, once published, can be installed over HTTP on clients by end users.

"Click-Once ensures that the application always stays up to date," said Flores. Like others he sees this as an antidote for so-called 'DLL hell.'

Moves toward simplifying the building of Web apps are also important.

"Historically, the paradigm for building a Windows app with VB was to get a blank form, choose controls, double-click on a button, and write some code to define behavior you want when the button is clicked," said Flores, "Now, we've enabled the exact same model for Web apps. This is really Visual Basic for the Web."

There is, he continued, a commonality in the process. You do not use different models for developing for Windows and the Web, or for that matter, mobile devices.

Less code is also said to be part of the next VB rev. "We are claiming code reductions for many common scenarios, in many cases, 50 percent less," said Flores. Common scenarios he cited include data access, data presentation, and file system and device interactions that tended to require a lot of code to be written.

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