VS 2005 Ecosystem Continues to Expand

Discover which new products, designed to enhance and expand the capabilities of Visual Studio 2005, were announced at VSLive! 2006.

A slew of new products designed to enhance and expand the capabilities of Visual Studio 2005 were debuted or announced at VSLive! 2006 in San Francisco this week. The wide-ranging releases covered the gamut from UI additions, enhancements, and tweaks; to security tools and packages; to training courses; to data packages intended to help you manage and display data better.

A couple trends are worth singling out. First, momentum for Asynchronous JavaScript and XML (Ajax) continues to pick up steam in the .NET development world. Ajax attempts to move much of the processing to the client's computer, so you don't have to reload a Web page each time the user makes a change. Microsoft released its own Atlas toolkit for creating Ajax-style applications recently, and no less than three companies—Infragistics, FarPoint Technologies, and Syncfusion—announced new tools that help developers take advantage of this technology from Visual Studio 2005.

Ajax is similar in theme to Microsoft's own Smart Client initiatives. However, Ajax is more geared toward providing the same functionality in any modern browser, whereas the Microsoft Smart Client approach enables developers to target a variety of platforms and devices. This steps up the user the experience as the client grows more powerful, with the optimal user experience typically targeting Internet Explorer.

A second class of products receiving a lot of attention in the .NET sphere is security. Compuware released its first major rev of DevPartner SecurityChecker, while SPI DYNAMICS released DevInspect 2005. Both products help developers identify and resolve security vulnerabilities in ASP.NET.

Finally, Oracle showed off a release candidate of Oracle Database 10g Express Edition to the VSLive! audience. Oracle Express is a scaled-down version of its Oracle 10g database. It is free to download, distribute, and deploy. It can plug directly into the VS .NET IDE or run in a standalone mode, depending on the needs of the developer. It is free to use and deploy. This product is still in beta, so it isn't included in the list of products below. Be sure to follow Visual Studio Magazine's monthly product listings for more information on its release and availability.

Active Bar 3.0
Active Bar from Data Dynamics is a tool for installing Microsoft Office and Visual Studio toolbars, menus, and docable windows emulation in your application. New features in Active Bar 3.0 include Microsoft Office 2003 and Visual Studio 2005 styles, GDI+ support, a ChildBand-style navigation bar, and two new customize-mode events. Pricing starts at $249.
Data Dynamics
Phone: 614-895-3142

Charting for .NET
Charting is a set of charting controls for .NET from ComponentArt. The tool includes WebChart for ASP.NET, for Web-based applications; and WinChart for .NET, for Windows Forms applications. New features in the product release include: a graphics engine that produces 3D-charting images, a new design-time wizard, hierarchy of series and definition of composition rules for each series group within the hierarchy, and built-in expression language for arithmetic calculation on inbound data. Pricing starts at $1099.
Phone: 416-622-2923

Developer Interface v3.0
Developer Interface 3.0 is a new release of InnerWorkings' learning environment that provides a central point of access for Practice Sets and components. New interface features include: integration with Visual Studio 2005, a new search capability, and a streamlined code-judging process. The enhanced search capability allows developers to search the InnerWorkings' catalog of released practice sets and all associated code files. If the user is not connected to the Internet, an offline search is available. The new Judge Code menu item builds and judges a project or solution in one action. Contact vendor for pricing information.
Phone: 925-737-0600

DevInspect 2005
DevInspect 2005 finds and fixes security vulnerability in ASP.NET Web applications and Web services. The tool analyzes component security with DevInspect during Unit test to verify that existing vulnerability have been fixed, and that no new ones have bee introduced. New features in DevInspect 2005 include dynamic and source-code analysis for security defects, and integration with Visual Studio 2005. Contact vendor for pricing.
Phone: 866-774-2700; 678-781-4800

DevPartner SecurityChecker 2.0
DevPartner SecurityChecker 2.0 is a security analysis tool that features full integration with Visual Studio 2005. It also enables development and testing tools to address vulnerabilities in ASP.NET by quickly locating and fixing security vulnerabilities early in the application lifecycle. The tool features 30 new integrity rules, including the ability to challenge "Google hacks," determine whether any hidden debugging information can be unlocked or viewed by a potential attacker, and search for cross-site scripting attacks that circumvent ASP.NET validation. Other features include the ability to pinpoint where vulnerabilities exist more precisely, as well as improved support for fighting off SQL Server injection attacks. Contact vendor for pricing information.
Phone: 800-521-9353

Exploring ASP.NET 2.0 Using Visual Basic 2005
AppDev's Exploring ASP.NET Using Visual Basic 2005 course provides a general overview of the powerful new features in ASP.NET 2.0. The course introduces many of the new ASP.NET server controls, shows how to incorporate the new membership, profile and personalization features, examines new data-caching and databinding features, and more. This course will prepare upgrading ASP.NET developers to be productive with new features as soon as possible. Contact vendor for pricing.
Phone: 800-578-2062

NCache 2.0
NCache is an in-memory object caching tool for .NET applications that require realtime data access. It lets you cache read-only data, and also complex transactional data with relationships, so an application can cache most of its data to improve performance. New features in NCache 2.0 include: session state management for ASP.NET with a load balancer that forwards user requests to the most appropriate server; support for clustered Session State in .NET and automatic support for different clustering topologies; and the same interface as the standard ASP.NET Session State object. Contact vendor for pricing.
Phone: 800-253-8195; 925-236-3830

NetAdvantage 2006 Volume 1
NetAdvantage 2006 is a toolset for building the presentation layer of Windows Forms, ASP.NET, and Table PC apps. Volume 1 includes these new features: new HTML-editor and spell-checker controls, an AJAX-embedded tree control, and an optimized grid control to reduce HTML download size. Those features enhance the 2005 edition, which was integrated into Visual Studio 2005. Pricing starts at $795.
Phone: 800-231-8588

Spread for Web Forms 2.5
Spread for Web Forms is a customizable ASP.NET spreadsheet component. Version 2.5 supports Visual Studio 2005, AJAX calls with client-side calculations, filtering, frozen rows and columns, search, and client-side support for Mozilla Firefox. $1099.
FarPoint Technologies
Phone: 800-645-5913; 919-460-4551

Studio Enterprise 2006 v1
Studio Enterprise 2006 is a major release from ComponentOne that supports Visual Studio 2005, and includes 28 natively compiled products for new features in VS2005. Studio Enterprise 2006 includes SmartDesigners and SmartFramework that allow developers to set common properties in component without leaving the design surface; the ability to add pointing and print-preview capabilities to Windows Forms applications; a more modular design; an enhanced object model; and tools for all application layers. The suite supports .NET, Delphi 2005, Delphi 8, and C# Builder and is priced at $999.
Phone: 800-858-2739; 412-681-4343

Essential Studio 4.1
Essential Studio 4.1 from Syncfusion includes support for Ajax-style callback, .NET 2.0-style data sources, native binaries for .NET V2.0, and support for visual designers. Version 4.1 also has the option to exclude the ASP.NET or Windows Forms versions during installation. The vendor has integrated multiple versions, so there is now no difference between the Essential Studio Professional and the Essential Studio Enterprise editions. This product is priced at $1,995.
Phone: 888-936-8638; 919-481-1974

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