Visual Studio 2010 Includes Windows Azure SDKBeta 2 is now out for Visual Studio 2010 and along with it comes the announcement of a new product lineup designed to make purchasing decisions just a little bit easier.

Visual Studio 2010 and .NET 4 Beta 2

With Beta 2 of Visual Studio 2010, also comes Beta 2 of the .NET framework. Together, the two offer Microsoft developers a whole slew of improvements and functionality. Some of these we covered when we took a closer look at Beta 1 of the .NET framework, such as security changes, parallel computing, a dynamic language run time and a ton of new things for ASP.NET development.

Beta 2 also includes built-in tools for Windows 7, Silverlight and SharePoint 2010 development, some which was shown at the SharePoint Conference last month.

According to Microsoft, the .NET 4.0 framework offers a "81 percent reduction in the framework size when using the Client Profile" resulting in much smaller deployments. And for those who have spent a significant amount of time developing applications for version 3.5 of the .NET framework, there is backwards capability.

You can download the Beta 2 of the professional version of Visual Studio 2010 now. And to help you get started, Microsoft is offering a Beta 2 Training Kit full of documentation, videos and tutorials.

New Product Lineup

In a similar vein to the new SharePoint 2010 product lineup, Microsoft has made the Visual Studio family much easier to understand. There are now four product SKUS:

  • Visual Studio Express: Free Web, VB, C#, and C++
  • Visual Studio 2010 Professional with MSDN: US$ 799 (without MSDN) US$ 1199 (with MSDN), this is the basic product, similar to the professional version you have now. It includes all the new functionality like source control, testing and deployment. Plus you get 50 hours per month of Windows Azure computing.
  • Visual Studio 2010 Premium with MSDN: US$ 5469, you get all the functionality of the professional version plus more advanced testing, database development and debugging and diagnostics. And it comes with 100 hours per month of Windows Azure development.
  • Visual Studio 2010 Ultimate with MSDN: Again, take the Premium edition and add a lot more advanced functionality like performance and load testing, architecture and modeling capabilities and Lab Management features. This version costs US$ 11,924 new and includes 250 hours per month of Windows Azure development.

You can viewed a detailed comparison of the Professional, Premier and Ultimate Editions here.

Supporting Cloud Development

Microsoft is showing their commitment to cloud development by offering MSDN subscribers a set of development hours for the Windows Azure platform. The offer includes compute hours, storage, data transfers, SQL Azure databases and .NET Services.

An updated version of the Windows Azure Tools for Visual Studio 2010 Beta is on its way. It includes some new template options for creating roles, improved debugging and integrates with new platform features.

Go Live Now

Visual Studio 2010 Beta 2 and .NET 4 Beta 2 includes a "go live" license. This means you can start developing your production applications on the beta: "Beta 2 has met high standards of quality for pre-release software, and we are licensing it for developing and deploying production applications."

The RTM version of Visual Studio 2010 is expected in March of next year.