A minor update to Visual Studio, codenamed Everett, which is due out in the first quarter of 2003, promises to include a number of enhancements for building robust mobile applications.
Mobile application development
Chris Flores, Microsoft product manager for Visual Studio .net, said a key feature in the new software is that it will allow developers to create offline applications for handheld devices. The current version of Visual Studio only supports online mobile applications where the software connects via a wireless network to a back end system. He said the new version of Visual Studio will allow developers to build applications based on the .net Framework that will run without the need for a wireless connection.
"We have a miniaturised version of the .net Framework that can reside on small, smart devices such as Pocket PC systems or embedded devices," Flores said. Microsoft also plans to bundle a version of its Visual J# software with Visual Studio to enable Java developers to migrate applications to the .net framework.
SQL Server support
Microsoft said the next major release of Visual Studio, due out in 2004, would be closely integrated with the next release of SQL Server, codenamed Yukon. The big change in the tool is its support for programming SQL Server. Database programmers currently have to write functions called stored procedures for SQL Server in the database's own programming language, SQL. With the new release of Visual Studio Microsoft said developers will be able to program such stored procedures in Visual Basic, C#, or C++.
To complete the three-year roadmap, Microsoft is planning a release of Visual Studio .net to be tied to a future release of Windows due in 2005, codenamed longhorn.