Microsoft releases tools, online resources

Microsoft Corp. today made available educational materials and a tool kit to help developers build applications using the Visual Studio .Net development environment that the company launched in February.

The .Net Architecture Center is an online resource site at architecture where developers can find sample applications, for an online bookstore and financial portal, as well as guidance on best practices for building, deploying and managing applications written in the .Net development environment.

“Visual Studio .Net was released six months ago, and one of the things we heard from customers is that they really wanted us to tell them the recommended approach to building distributed applications from a high level,” said Dan Hay, a Visual Studio .Net lead product manager at Microsoft.

Hay said the Architecture Center is backed by a team of architects and developers “whose whole purpose and job is to identify the next things that customers are telling us they’re having difficulty with or want guidance on.”

Also today, Microsoft made available an integration software development kit to enable companies to hook their internally built tools into the Visual Studio .Net environment. That will allow development teams to use their homegrown tools through the Visual Studio .Net user interface.

Prior to today, the Visual Studio Integration Program had been open only to independent software vendors. Now, it is also open to companies that have volume license agreements with Microsoft, Hay said.

“It’s not a new program or new technologies,” Hay said. “But it’s new in the sense that we’re extending the level of integration capability to our end customers.”

Hay said Microsoft extended the program in response to requests from enterprise customers who have internally built tools. Further information can be found at