'Whidbey' Beta 2 Expected Late March

Sources close to the development of Visual Studio 2005, code-named Whidbey, are indicting that a second beta is in the cards for late March or early April. The beta release may be given a "Go Live" license that clears the way for developers to roll out solutions built with Whidbey.

If the Beta 2 timeframe, first reported by eWeek, is forecasted correctly, its progress augurs well for a release candidate to arrive by mid-September.

However, predicting Whidbey's beta schedule has been a slippery slope. Earlier estimates called for the second beta to be completed in February, in time for the VSLive! Conference.

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The last major build of Whidbey was shipped to testers in December as a Community Technology Preview (CTP).

Microsoft refused to comment on specific dates, but told BetaNews that, "Our plan is to release Visual Studio 2005 Beta 2 in Q1 of 2005 and to ship Visual Studio 2005 in the summer of 2005."

Some industry insiders predict a delay in Whidbey translates to a related delay in the Longhorn wave of products, even the upcoming operating system itself, due to dependencies. Specifically, Whidbey's delay would affect Yukon, Microsoft's next-generation SQL Server, as well as a bevy of other products that are on the horizon.

Orcas, a future build of Visual Studio, and Office 12 are set to find their roots in Whidbey. A new crop of Office 12 server products and enterprise server products will rely on Yukon storage technologies and Whidbey as a backend for developers. Microsoft is also expected to extend Office 12 vertically using managed code from Visual Studio.

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