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Gates' Visual Studio 2005 Vision
"Seamless Computing" theme stresses VS.NET integration with mobile devices and Speech Server 2004.
by Roger Jennings

VSLive! San Francisco, March 24, 2004

Watch the video of the keynote!

Bill Gates launched the combined VSLive!, Microsoft Mobile DevCon, and AVIOS SpeechTEK conferences on Wednesday, March 24, 2004 with his keynote speech to a standing-room-only crowd at San Francisco's Moscone Center West. Gates adopted the "Seamless Computing" theme for his three-pronged, developer-oriented address, which emphasized VS.NET's integrated toolset for an upgraded Windows Mobile 2003 release and Microsoft's newly announced Speech Server 2004 (see Resources). Gates' opening remarks also focused on device proliferation, code quality and security, and standards-based Web services for connectivity.

The first of the three demos showed new productivity features for VB developers in the Visual Studio .NET 2005 Community Technical Preview (CTP). The CTP is the second preview of the next version of VS.NET, formerly known as "Whidbey," scheduled for release in the first half of 2005. A simple insurance claim app demonstrated the CTP's upgraded DataConnector (DataContainer in the first TP) tool that can enable business objects, in addition to conventional DataSets, as data sources. The CTP automatically builds an XML schema for the business object; the DataContainer adds a GridView or data-bound textboxes for a detailed view with a single click. An edit-and-continue example drew the obligatory—but muted—applause. Other VB.NET code productivity enhancements include Generics, the ability to create a data connection with a single line of code, the VB.NET-only My object whose members provide access to local computer resources and properties of the current user's Windows account, and "code snippets" for performing common tasks.


The final product will ship with more than 500 snippets, and you can expect snippets to become the primary code distribution method for .NET-oriented Web sites. New Exception Assistants suggest fixes for the offending code but are reminiscent of the ill-fated Office Assistant. Gates claims that new VS.NET 2005 features will reduce hand-written lines of code by 50 percent, but the question remains: "Compared to what?" One-Click Web deployment promises to automate distributing and updating completed .NET projects and their dependencies. Conference attendees and MSDN Universal subscribers will receive the CTP bits.

Going Mobile
Keeping up with new devices from 37 mobile hardware builders and the requirements of 50 network operators requires at least once-yearly upgrades to the Windows mobile platform. The CTP includes the Compact Framework 2.0 for developing smart device applications. New features of Windows Mobile 2003 relate primarily to VGA displays for Pocket PCs and QVGA for Smartphones, and automatic screen switching between portrait and landscape modes for Motorola's new MPX phone.

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