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The Name Game

If you're a parent (like me) or even a pet owner (again, like me), you know that a name can mean everything.

My daughter Maggie is a case in point. Named after her energetic maternal great-grandmother, young Maggie is a credit to the name. A real pistol, she earned the nickname "Beast of the East" for her ability to just wear people down. And yet, at 4 years old, she's completely enamored of ponies, unicorns and rainbows.

My point -- I had a point in there somewhere, I know it -- is that once something you've been thinking about for a while gets a name, everything changes. Things lock into focus and you begin to mentally associate the product with the name, and the name with the product.

Which is why I was excited to hear the announcement this week that Visual Studio "Orcas" will officially be called "Visual Studio 2008." It's a serious sign that Microsoft has moved to the next stage of delivering the product. And for us, we can finally get around to packing all the mental baggage that will eventually be associated with this IDE.

Also at the show, Microsoft rolled out a scaled-down version of Visual Studio, called "Visual Studio Shell," which is intended to allow developers to build VS functionality on top of their own vertical tools. VS Shell will also enable integration of languages such as Fortran, Cobol, Ruby and PHP. A beta is due out this summer. The final version will be free for download. Read more here.

Another product earned its official title at Tech-Ed this week -- specifically, the next version of SQL Server. Code-named "Katmai," the new version will be called "SQL Server 2008." The new SQL Server will continue to press business intelligence features, as well as introduce the Entity Framework (EF) data conceptual access technology, which was pulled back from the Visual Studio 2008 release timeframe. Here's more.

The impending arrival of these two products are important milestones in that they prove Microsoft's commitment to deliver more frequent and iterative product updates. Gone are the days of five- or six-year spans between releases, as occurred with SQL Server 2000 and, of course, Windows XP.

What are you most looking forward to with SQL Server and Visual Studio? E-mail me at [email protected]

Posted by Michael Desmond on 06/06/2007

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