Microsoft today launched the next major version of its software and web development suite, Visual Studio 2010, and the .NET Framework 4, which provides a managed code runtime and development framework to developers. A related Silverlight 4 release, set for later this week, will provide much of the functionality of the .NET Framework on the web.

"We're excited to celebrate the launch of Visual Studio 2010 with developers around the world today," says Microsoft President Bob Muglia. "The functionality of Visual Studio 2010, .NET Framework 4 and Silverlight 4 creates a powerful and unique combination, opening up new opportunities for developers to build applications that take advantage of new and existing devices, as well as emerging platforms like cloud services."

Visual Studio 2010 features a new editing environment based on the Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF), the part of .NET aimed at UIs. Among other enhancements, it allows developers to easily work on projects across multiple monitors. Visual Studio 2010 also provides developers with access to modern Microsoft platform features, such as the multi-touch interfaces in Windows 7 and SharePoint. With Silverlight, developers can also target the upcoming Windows Phone platform.

Visual Studio 2010 is available in a variety of product editions that meet various needs, from the free Express versions for students and enthusiasts, all the way up to team-oriented environments such as the Test Professional edition. For more information about Visual Studio 2010, please visit the Microsoft website.