Microsoft hopes to have the next version of its software and Web development suite, Visual Studio 6.0, released this summer. Interestingly, this is actually only the second release of Visual Studio (the first was "Visual Studio 97") but Microsoft is bumping up the version number to equal that of its main components, such as Visual Basic and Visual C++. Visual Studio also includes Visual J++ (Java), Visual InterDev (Web development), Visual FoxPro (database), and Visual SourceSafe (team development support).

"We will be standardizing on the name Visual Studio 6.0 for the next release," said Tod Nielsen, Microsoft's general manager of developer relations.

Details of the new suite will emerge in the coming weeks. What is know now is that the old Developer Studio IDE has been dropped in favor of a new environment based on the one used by Visual Basic 5.0. The new Visual Basic development environment--code-named "Vegas"--will be used by all Visual Studio 6.0 tools. For a look at this new environment, check out the What's New section of my "Implementing Microsoft Visual InterDev" Web site