The .net Compact Framework is a subset of the .net Framework, which is already available for Microsoft's desktop and server operating systems. The software runs Web-based applications developed using .net tools, and is comparable to a Java Virtual Machine, the software required to run Java applications on PCs, servers and mobile devices.
A test release of Microsoft's Visual Studio .net software develop environment also made its debut and is expected to be released in April. Microsoft said it would deliver Windows .net Server 2003, the widely anticipated upgrade to Windows 2000.
The raft of new software and tools is part of Microsoft's plan to allow developers to build and host applications that can run on devices ranging in size from mobile phones to large servers.
The latest tools should allow developers to build Web-based applications, or Web services, that will run on Microsoft's .net server software. Applications built with the tools will also make use of Web services specifications such as WS-Security, WS-Routing and WS-Attachments, Microsoft said.
The company also announced that developers building applications with the test version of Visual Studio .net 2003 and the .net Compact Framework would be able to deploy their applications for product use.
Developers who have already purchased the existing version of Visual Studio .net, and who did not already own an upgrade to the software, will be able to acquire Visual Studio .net 2003 for $29 (£18).
Members of MSDN, Microsoft's developer community, can download the final beta of Visual Studio .net 2003 at msdn.microsoft.com/vstudio/.