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Programmers to get taste of Visual Studio 2005

At a developer conference next week, Microsoft will hand out a "technology preview" of the development tool as well as release new software.

Microsoft plans to provide programmers with an interim version of its Visual Studio 2005 development tool and to release its server-based speech software next week.

Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates is scheduled to give a keynote presentation on Visual Studio, speech technologies and mobile application development next Wednesday at a developer conference in San Francisco.

At the conference, the company is expected to distribute the latest "technology preview" of Visual Studio 2005, a major upgrade of the company's flagship development tool. The software giant last week said it will delay the release of Visual Studio 2005 until the first half of next year and will begin a test program in the coming months.

The company also plans to debut at the conference Microsoft Speech Server 2004, server software for incorporating speech recognition into Windows applications.

In addition, Microsoft will provide more details on the .Net Compact Framework 2.0, according to a company representative.

The .Net Compact Framework, which Gates launched a year ago, is the software plumbing needed to run Web services applications on handheld devices. The .Net software allows developers to write applications with Microsoft's widely used Visual Studio .Net 2003 rather than with specialized tools.

The .Net Compact Framework 2.0 is designed to run on handheld operating systems, including Microsoft's Smartphone OS. The update will include improvements to make developers more productive and write applications that run faster, according to Microsoft. Currently, Visual Studio .Net 2003 developers use the .Net Compact Framework software to build applications that run on the Pocket PC or Windows CE operating systems.