In a move that builds support for its .Net Framework, Microsoft Corp. recently launched Visual Studio Tools for the Microsoft Office System.

Visual Studio Tools extends Visual Studio .Net 2003 and the Microsoft .Net Framework to support applications built on versions of Word and Excel featured in the Office 2003 suite.

Microsoft is pledging that developers building Word- and Excel-based applications will find greater productivity with the new tools. Developers can build business systems that feature the familiarity of Excel and Word on the desktop. They can also write business logic and data access code in Visual Basic .Net or Visual C# .Net. Developers can also use the product to integrate applications with corporate data and Web services, while leveraging the maintenance, deployment, and security benefits of the .Net Framework, according to Microsoft.

Rob Helm, director of research at Directions on Microsoft, an independent research firm, said Microsoft is using the tools to migrate developers to the .Net Framework. “Most of what is delivered in Visual Studio Tools are things that allow you to use Visual Studio in languages like Visual Basic .Net, to write Word and Excel applications,” Helm said. The .Net Framework provides benefits such as memory-leakage prevention, he said.

Estimated retail pricing for Microsoft Visual Studio Tools for the Microsoft Office System is US$499. Upgrade pricing of US$199 is available for customers licensed to products such as Visual Studio .Net 2003, Microsoft Visual Basic Professional or Enterprise Edition 5.0 or later, or Visual FoxPro Professional Edition 5.0 or later. Microsoft has launched Visual Studio Tools for the Microsoft Office System, extending Visual Studio .Net 2003 and the Microsoft .Net Framework to applications built on versions of Word and Excel to be featured in the Office 2003 suite.

Microsoft Access 2003 Developer Extensions, which provide tools and resources for building Access systems, will be paired with Visual Studio Tools for the Microsoft Office System and offered at an upgrade price to users of previous Office Developer Edition products, according to Microsoft.



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