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Microsoft Orcas May Not Ship This Year

There is no guarantee that Orcas, the next generation of the Visual Studio development environment, will ship this year. Microsoft Corporate Vice President S. “Soma” Somasegar said beta 2 is the big milestone for 2007.

According to Somasegar, the first beta bits will ship this month, but will not be feature complete. A second beta will follow, being made generally available later in 2007, but Orcas’ final release date remains nebulous. “We are not in the habit of shipping software before it is ready,” Somasegar explained.

An updated road map was published on the product team’s Web site in late March. It detailed the team’s release schedule for the remainder of the year, covering Visual Studio, Visual Studio Team System, and Power Tools. The team had confirmed that Orcas was still on track for 2007.

Any delay in Orcas will bump back Rosario, the next major release of Visual Studio Team System, because they are being developed in parallel. Somasegar acknowledged that it will not ship in 2007 and could arrive as many as 9 to 12 months subsequent to Orcas’ general availability.

Orcas will be Microsoft’s preferred IDE for building Windows Vista and Office 2007 “ribbon”-styled applications. Microsoft is also touting its Web development capabilities: Orcas is swimming with enhanced HTML, CSS designer and JavaScript support, and adds integrated AJAX support.

Other highlights are SharePoint extensions, the Expression design tools WYSIWYG designer, and an updated version of the .NET 3.0 Framework. Orcas expands data query and manipulation capabilities with Language Integrated Query (LINQ) and can target multiple versions of the .NET framework, from 2.0 and above.

Somasegar guaranteed backwards multi-targeting, but would not guarantee it going forward past the Orcas edition of .NET. We cannot plan future editions of .NET around Orcas, he said.

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Microsoft, Orcas, Ship, Shipment

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