The .NET development community enjoys a rich array of tools that help make software development easier, less costly and more effective. Visual Studio 2010 and Silverlight 4 exemplify this trend as both provide rich native tool sets, while expanding third-party options seamlessly integrate with and enhance their out-of-the-box capabilities. Both are considered “major steps forward” for enterprise developers because they address software productivity and IT concerns better than their predecessors.

“Enterprise developers have been the biggest beneficiaries of the last few versions of Visual Studio,” said Patrick Hynds, president of DTS, a consultancy and software company that focuses specifically on Microsoft technologies.

“Before .NET, departmental Visual Basic developers and ISVs doing C++ [realized the greatest benefit]. .NET raised the bar by providing libraries, placing more focus on Active Directory and libraries for interacting with Active Directory. As a result, a lot of great tools were built in that benefit enterprise developers.”

A look back at previous .NET versions of Visual Studio indicates an evolutionary progression that has resulted in Visual Studio 2010’s robust application life-cycle management (ALM), agile development, and team productivity features on the high end and greater developer productivity and flexibility on the low end. A 2008 Forrester Research survey of 1,105 .NET and Java developers indicated that 99.5% of .NET developers had adopted Visual Studio 2010, according to principal analyst Jeffrey Hammond. He also said the adoption of .NET is expanding within enterprises.

“I’ve seen a jump in the usage of the .NET platform in large organizations,” he said. “It’s always been used there, but I’m seeing it now in bigger companies. [.NET] is now at parity with Java [because] Java is in turmoil and .NET is more proven.”

Visual Studio boosts productivity
Doug Seven, director of Product Management for Visual Studio at Microsoft, said the adoption of Visual Studio 2010 has been rapid because developers expect it to improve new application development. They are also discovering that it helps teams understand existing applications better than what was possible using previous versions.

“We’ve been getting feedback that the ability to understand existing applications saved them [tremendous time and resources],” he said.

Visual Studio was been reworked to improve productivity, and provide new and enhanced tooling across platforms.