Microsoft has officialy released a new beta of Visual Studio 2007 (codename Orcas) as a part of the Community Technology Preview (CTP). In the past years, Microsoft has finally started more open process with the community on their development tools like Visual Studio. Being a regular Microsoft development tools user since Visual Studio 97, i am really excited to try out this new version, which includes .NET version 3.5, as well as much improved data management (with each version of Visual Studio, Microsoft improves this area greatly, in my opinion. Visual Studio 2005 made some very good steps with a better data-presentation separation). Another important change is ASP.NET Ajax integration, and if someone managed to miss all the Ajax buzz, then this is your chance to check it out. Every web developer, working on Windows, should check out the new Visual Studio 2007 beta at least to see if there are any improvements for better web standards handling, as well some very important fixes(there are billions of developers all around the world, crying for finally fixing the visual developer part).
Interesting is that beta1 of Visual Studio is not “feature complete”, which means that there are still some features, not integrated into this version, which is unusual, since normally “alpha” is a version with not all features available, while “beta” is a feature complete version with some functionalities having problems. Anyway, it does not really matter how they name this version, but Microsoft has hinted, that the second beta of Visual Studio, this time with all features available, will appear on MSDN until the end of this year.
If you do not have MSDN access, then you can just experiment with an Express Edition of the Visual Studio 2007, which is freely available for everyone.
I am still busy with a lot of web projects to find time to test it, as well as with PHP for Delphi, but as soon as i can, i am going to publish some kind of a review on both of the tools.