Microsoft announced at COMDFX Fall 2002 this week the immediate availability of Visual Studio .NET 2003 (code-named Everett), which includes the final version of the Microsoft .NET Compact Framework for smart devices based on Windows CE .NET (formerly code-named Talisker). Visual Studio .NET 2003 is an incremental update to Visual Studio .NET, and Microsoft will finalize it early in 2003. Microsoft will launch the product with Windows .NET Server (Win.NET Server) 2003 in April, the company says, although customers who want to launch applications written to the .NET Compact Framework before that time can do so with a new Go Live license, which will be available in the coming weeks.

Visual Studio .NET 2003 includes support for the latest Web services specifications, such as WS-Attachments, WS-Routing, and WS-Security; support for Windows Forms in Visual C++ .NET; an integrated version of Visual J# .NET; and support for more than 200 mobile devices based on Windows CE .NET, the Pocket PC, and Pocket PC Phone Edition.

The next generation of Visual Studio .NET will be based on the Yukon series of technologies, which will debut with the release of the next Microsoft SQL Server version. This Yukon-based Visual Studio .NET version--due "a little bit more than a year from now," according to Microsoft's Dan Hay--will be a major release featuring an easier-to-use interface for Visual Basic .NET and SQL Server stored procedures that are written in any .NET language, including C#.

Visual Studio .NET 2003 will be a free upgrade for Microsoft Developer Network (MSDN) customers. Other users can upgrade to the new version for $29.99.