Microsoft’s newest development tool is a breath of fresh air

The past few weeks, my team of developers and I have been working non-stop on a huge enterprise application based in Microsoft .NET. It's been extremely exciting for us all and a wonderful opportunity for our engineers to get firsthand experience with the power of Visual Studio .NET. We all agree, from the most junior to the senior engineer, that Visual Studio .NET is a breath of fresh air for software developers. Go through the rigors of putting a .NET application into production, and you'll immediately see the difference. Your applications will perform better, scale better, and be easier to deliver than ever before. Visual Studio .NET gives you the tools you need to make this all happen. We've been using Visual Studio .NET for many months (and, like many of you, have suffered through the beta releases), but the time spent has turned out to be well worth it. .NET lets us build better, more production-worthy applications faster than ever before. It's a total adrenaline rush whenever we break open Visual Studio .NET—there's so much cool stuff packed in there to make us better software developers that we never want to go back to the "old" way of building applications.

Many of us are in the same boat: We need to build, build, build as fast as possible to meet a customer's deadlines. Prototype code sometimes becomes production code. Before .NET, we typically ended up with a jumbled mess of HTML interlaced with VBScript, Visual Basic (VB) COM components that aren't re-usable with any other applications and, as a result, a maintenance nightmare. This is standard operating procedure for many shops. It's just too easy to write bad code and then blame the OS for not performing the way it should. The old tools and technologies don't push us to create well-built applications that scale. Building industrial strength applications is hard work; to succeed you must be extremely disciplined. Building a solution of better quality than a prototype application is nearly impossible when you're rushing to deliver your applications, especially if you're working with inexperienced engineers.

Visual Studio .NET is a far superior environment for developing applications. The tools do much more for you out of the box than Visual Studio 6's tools did, so the same level of discipline for building awesome applications isn't required. Everyone I've encountered who has used it agrees that it's a revolution in software development, but you won't understand it until you've used the product. Visual Studio .NET has just been officially released, and companies everywhere are already using it to deploy solutions. In the next few months, you'll find more and more companies requiring experience in .NET. Now is the time to expand your skill set and better position yourself in the engineering workforce.