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Commentary: Visual Studio.Net a clear winner

The only challenge for Microsoft's new developer platform is the drastic changes in its features, which may produce difficulty for some users.

    By Mark Driver, Gartner Analyst

    One of Microsoft's goals in offering the new Visual Studio.Net is to support the company's .Net framework with developer languages, compilers, debuggers, wizards, components and graphical user interface tools, among other features.

    See news story:
    Developers cry foul over new Microsoft language
    Another goal is to create a platform on which developers can more easily mix languages within a single project. Although the product achieves this goal, it does so with numerous new features, which can quickly overwhelm the average Visual Basic programmer.

    Visual Studio.Net leaves Visual Basic developers in a catch-22 situation. On the one hand, the new product has features and functionality to provide much better support for .Net programming initiatives and will significantly extend the strategic presence of Visual Basic over the next five years. On the other, the product's extreme changes will create considerable discontinuity among Visual Basic developers--particularly those who lack formal training in object-oriented analysis and design concepts.

    Most programmers will eventually make the transition to the new product. Some will revert back to Microsoft Access or other tools better suited to "power users," and others will make the transition to C# or even Java. Today there are nearly 3 million Visual Basic programmers. That number will not decrease substantially because of this product, but it also will not increase significantly.

    Visual Studio.Net will be the first completely integrated workbench and the first version to fully embrace enterprise and global computing application development efforts. Other strengths of the product include its market clout and considerable user base. It also offers extensive after-market support.

    The only challenge for Visual Studio.Net is the drastic changes in its features, which may produce difficulty for some developers.

    (For related commentary on C#, see TechRepublic.com--free registration required.)

    Entire contents, Copyright ? 2001 Gartner Group, Inc. All rights reserved. The information contained herein represents Gartner's initial commentary and analysis and has been obtained from sources believed to be reliable. Positions taken are subject to change as more information becomes available and further analysis is undertaken. Gartner disclaims all warranties as to the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of the information. Gartner shall have no liability for errors, omissions or inadequacies in the information contained herein or for interpretations thereof.