Microsoft Moves Visual Studio Towards The Cloud

Microsoft is making a significant announcement for developers today, upgrading and adding functionality to Visual Studio 2010 to make the product more cloud-friendly in anticipation of Microsoft’s release of its commercial cloud platform Azure. Visual Studio is Microsoft’s a development environment that can be used to develop web applications, sites and services based on Microsoft’s technology platforms.

Visual Studio 2010 will have additional testing options for developers to ensure quality code. Microsoft has included built-in tools for Windows 7 and Microsoft SharePoint 2010, and new drag and drop bindings for Silverlight and Windows Presentation Foundation. This is the first time that Microsoft has offered specific tools for building applications off of SharePoint. And with Visual Studio, developers can also build applications that cut across both Microsoft’s cloud computing platform Azure and on-premises databases.

Microsoft is making it much easier for developers to build on the Azure cloud with these new tools. The specific Windows Azure tools for Visual Studio let developers build ASP.NET web applications and services that are hosted in Azure’s cloud services operating system. The tools also includes a SDK environment, and a simulated cloud environment that runs on the developer’s machine, so developers can test and debug their applications locally.

Microsoft is also upgrading its .NET Framework 4, which will let developers experience smaller deployments with an 81 percent reduction in the framework size when using the Client Profile. Other benefits include additional support for industry standards, inclusion of the Dynamic Language Runtime for more language choice, new support for high-performance middle-tier applications (including parallel programming, workflow and service-oriented applications) and backward compatibility through side-by-side installation with .NET Framework 3.5.

Visual Studio is being restructured in terms of the product lineup, with customers now being able to choose from three main versions of Visual Studio 2010: Professional (which includes essential tools), Premium, and Ultimate (a comprehensive package of life-cycle management tools). Microsoft has also redesigned the UI of the MSDN developer website, including a faster version of the MSDN Library and additional community resources for programmers and developers.

Although we all know that Microsoft has strong ambitions in the cloud, it appears that part of its strategy involves providing developers with the best tools possible to build high-class applications off of Azure. Microsoft knows it must engage developers to help build momentum for the much-hyped Azure.