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At TechEd: Ballmer discusses Visual Studio 2005 Team System, app life cycle

Steve Ballmer, Microsoft CEO, got Microsoft TechEd 2004 rolling today, telling an audience that the company is focusing on allowing IT shops to do more with less. Ballmer spoke at the company's annual developer fest in San Diego. According to Ballmer, Web services and XML continue to be a big part of that push.

He discussed the next release of Visual Studio 2005, which will include a version known as ''Team System.'' The toolset is intended to reach out beyond developers to include more workers involved with the application life cycle.

As described by Ballmer and others, Visual Studio 2005 Team System will integrate design, development and testing tool functions, and thus allow greater collaboration between architects, developers and system administrators.

Meanwhile, Ballmer formally announced availability of Web Services Enhancements 2.0, a long-awaited upgrade for Web services developers using .NET Visual Studio that allows them to integrate WS-Policy, WS-Security Policy, WS-Trust and WS-Secure Conversation protocols.

''From a development standpoint, we really do think about our tools broadly as part of an application development platform,'' Ballmer said. He then went on to suggest that Web services allow developers to use these platform tools while still being able to access non-Microsoft platforms. That platform may reach out soon to include more elements of Great Plains and Navision.

''Microsoft wants you to be able to extend Office, Great Plains or Navision, instead of starting [an application] from scratch,'' Ballmer said. He said the app suites of those recently acquired software companies would become ''one unified product over time.''

''People worry that if a platform is one big integrated thing, it is a closed environment,'' Ballmer noted. ''This is absolutely an area where I want you to question any conventional wisdom,'' he told the TechEd 2004 show crowd estimated at about 11,000.

''The company has made investments in interoperability over the last five years. The range of work is quite dramatic,'' he said. ''Most important is the work we have done in collaboration with IBM and others, and as part of the Web Services Interoperability Organization to make sure that we get the next generation of Web services standards in place.''

Web services continue to be a point of pride for Microsoft and an avenue to greater integration. In recent weeks, SAP and Oracle have announced tools tie-ins to Visual Studio, which in its upcoming 2005 version seems to have shed its .NET Visual Studio moniker. At TechEd, Tibco joined the movement to endorse Visual Studio and the .NET Framework as an environment for integrating apps.

''XML and the stack that goes below it is the best thing that could have happened to our industry,'' Ballmer said. ''Web services are essentially an architected way to do interoperability.''

About the Author

Jack Vaughan is former Editor-at-Large at Application Development Trends magazine.

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