Developers the focus of Microsoft launch

Developers are magicians, says Microsoft developer evangelist

When Microsoft embarks on its $175 million launch campaign of Visual Studio 2008, Windows Server 2008 and SQL Server 2008 in Asia-Pacific this week, developers will be celebrated as heroes.

“We worship developers. They are the magicians, the chefs that mix up all the ingredients and create new applications,” said Dilip Mistry, general manager of developer and platform evangelism at Microsoft Asia-Pacific, at a Microosoft media summit in Singapore last week.

Developers are the heroes of organisations, the enablers who keep the organisation humming, added Andrew Pickup, business and marketing officer at Microsoft Asia-Pacific.

The company will visit 18 cities across the region and expects to reach 20,000 developers and IT professionals over the next two months. The software giant is also organising 150 community events, and expects another 50,000 people will log on to follow the launch online, said Pickup.

Events will be held in Christchurch, Wellington and Auckland in March.

Visual Studio 2008 was released late last year, while Windows Server 2008 is set to launch on February 27 at an event in Los Angeles. SQL Server will be officially launched later this year, said Simon Piff, Microsoft’s regional solutions manager.

The three products together have the potential to deliver capabilities such as enhanced security and virtualisation through Windows Server 2008; business intelligence and compliance with regulations through SQL Server 2008; better collaboration between developers and designers, and LINQ (Language Integrated Query), which ties together Visual Basic or C# with SQL Server, through Visual Studio 2008, according to Microsoft.

Mistry demonstrated mash-up applications developed in the region — one map mash-up showing schools in Singapore within a certain radius of a given address — to show rich data, which has been built using Visual Studio 2008, stored in SQL Server 2008, on a platform running Windows Server 2008.

The new versions of the three products, and the combination of the three into what Microsoft calls an “enterprise-ready platform”, makes a lot of sense, said Wilvin Chee, director of software research at IDC Asia-Pacific. However, the challenge for Microsoft will be to convince customers they need to upgrade to the latest versions.

To some extent, the company is a victim of its own success — the customer-base is very comfortable with the technology it is using, and is in many cases reluctant to deal with the cost, new, unfamiliar features, and compatibility considerations an upgrade could bring, he said.

• Hedquist travelled to Singapore as a guest of Microsoft