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Visual Studio Shell: Microsoft’s version of NetBeans & Eclipse

Posted by malcolmdavis on June 12, 2007 at 12:15 PM PDT

Microsoft Plans Visual Studio Shell

Microsoft is finally releasing their version of a NetBeans & Eclipse environment.

Microsoft’s tradition is a one stop shopping development environment. Visual Studio is a homogenous, well integrated, do it all environment. Even though Microsoft Visual Studio falls way short of free tools like Eclipse (among other FOSS and commercial offerings), the developers don't have all those decisions to make about configuration, plug-ins, technologies, etc. [The magnitude of choices has bred discontentment among some in the Java community.]

The Visual Studio Shell (VSS) seems to be an attempt by Microsoft to establish a development ecosystem around Visual Studio IDE. There are several problems with the approach:

1. Quality:  Today’s Visual Studio has numerous issues with performance, reliability and functionality. Starting with Visual Studio 2003, the VS product line took a wrong turn.

2. History:  Microsoft does not have a history of establishing independent ecosystems. GotDotNet is an example of failed development ecosystem that will be phased out the summer of 2007.

3. Mindset:  VSS seems to be a divergence from Microsoft’s mantra. People that are constantly exploring for new opportunities for increased productivity build development ecosystems. These productivity driven individuals decouple processes and tools, so new techniques and technologies can be applied independently, and easily integrated when they become available. The productivity change mindset is in sharp contrast to Microsoft’s’ highly coupled, do it all environment.

The big question is, can Microsoft succeed and grow by simply marketing knock-offs of the FOSS community, and staying generations behind the software curb? Can VSS really take off and be the IDE of future? Does Microsoft have the ability to create a flourishing ecosystem?

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