Today Microsoft delivered an update to its Visual Studio .NET software-development tool that lets programmers more easily build advanced, secure Web services. Web Services Enhancements 1.0 for Microsoft .NET (WSE) integrates with Visual Studio .NET and the Microsoft .NET Framework, and supports technologies such as Web Services Security (WS-Security), Web Services Routing Protocol (WS-Routing), and WS-Attachments. This final release follows the tool's April 2002 technical preview.

Hosting companies such as F5 Networks, WestGlobal, and WRQ are already using WSE to help customers build and deploy Web services, Microsoft says. "We are working with Microsoft's WSE and Visual Studio .NET to help customers radically shorten their time to market," said Jim Ritchings, vice president of business development at F5 Networks, a provider of Application Traffic Management solutions. "As a result of WSE, F5 Networks can provide unprecedented network automation and optimization for rapid and secure deployment of XML Web services and applications."

Microsoft says it will update WSE over time to support emerging Web services capabilities. WSE is available now from Microsoft as a free download.