Visual Studio 2005, SQL Server 2005 and BizTalk 2006 launch

Steve Ballmer delivered the launch speech via satellite from San Francisco where he shared an auditorium with 3000 or so guests (developers). The UK launch was held at the London Stock Exchange yesterday. There’s an on-demand web cast available here.

The key launch message that came across revolved around: better decisions, faster results, better insight. These are values/principles that guided the individual product development (Visual Studio, SQL Server, BizTalk) and the broad platform development (encompassing SharePoint, Windows clients, Microsoft Office, Microsoft Dynamics, developer tools, management tools, XML web services, ind std and Microsoft own .net innovations)

Steve went on to highlight some statistics from IDC. Platform momentum, five years after the launch of .NET – when asked what platform are you using for mission critical applications: 35% of customers are using .NET whereas 25% using Java. “35%, number one clearly is .NET”. In calendar year 04, SQL Server out-sold DB2 and Oracle. And with the sheer power provided by Intel and various hardware vendors, the combination of hardware and Microsoft product sets, Steve came out with this quote:

“There is no job that is too big to run on entirely on the Windows and Microsoft platform”

The launch speech saw a student and Brian Goldfarb extol the virtues of the Visual Studio 2005 and SQL Server 2005 Express Editions. What’s important to note about the Express Editions is that fact that they are free. Obviously the Express Editions don’t have all the features of the full product versions, but the projects you create with them are upwardly compatible and they’ll give you great exposure to the Visual Studio and SQL Server family. Aimed at hobbyist and students, the Express Editions are a good way of getting that much needed product experience that will put you in good stead in your first job. Download your Express Editions here.

There seemed to be some arm waving surrounding the introduction of “My” – something that has been introduced into the Visual Basic.net language. I’m not sure what all the fuss is about, but will take this opportunity to remind everybody that Juval Lowy has gone ahead and implemented in C#. There’s some good stuff about the Visual Basic.net version over here. There’s more about “My” for C#, this and that, over here…or you can just download it from here.

I also got to meet Tim Anderson – I shook his hand and that’s about it: three weeks of ‘flu, cold, coughing and sore throat cost me my voice…I was sipping Lemsip all day!

My voice eventually returned…Microsoft’s Phil Cross put up with me for the best part of an hour – we seem to share the same ideas about the concept of feedback. Feedback is important, if you (as a “vendor”) ask your customer(s) for some feedback, e.g. a restaurant owner asking guests for feedback after their meal, please take the feedback and do something with it: don’t turn it back on the customer and make them feel guilty. Towards the end of the evening IT Week’s Martin Banks passed by to say “hello, goodbye”…I shook his hand too! Of course, all this hand-shaking is nothing in comparison to Richard Costall’s experience in this department! (I shook Richard’s hand before I knew where his hand had been…may be something will have rubbed off on me?)

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Information Week’s take on the launch is here.