Electronic Design

Technology Report: Plug-Ins For Visual Studio

Microsoft Visual Studio is one of the most successful IDEs around. It only runs on Microsoft Windows. The primary target for the latest version, Visual Studio.Net 2003, involves the many incarnations of Windows from the latest Windows Server 2003 to the compact Windows CE.Net (see photo).

Visual Studio’s family tree goes back to a time where it was a standalone package. However, now it’s a platform for a host of add-ons. Microsoft provides a few of the add-ons, but most come from third parties. There’s even a plug-in that allows for Linux cross-development; it’s called VisualLynux from LynuxWorks.

Microsoft provides configuration tools and a number of compilers, including Visual C++, Visual C#, Visual J#, and, of course, Visual Basic.

Visual Studio supports Microsoft’s Web services, including the .Net Framework. It can be used for ASP (Active Server Page) development that’s employed with Microsoft’s Internet Information Server (IIS).

Visual Studio .Net comes in many configurations, including Enterprise Architect, Enterprise Developer, and Professional. The Enterprise versions include more extensive database and XML support.

Third-party add-ons can be divided into three types. The first are language-related tools like Cobol and Eiffel. The second are run-time services, such as graphics packages and database services. The final type are development-related tools, including source-management systems and plug-ins that integrate Visual Studio with third-party products.

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