Microsoft previewed upcoming development tools Friday at the PDC, including the next two versions of Visual Studio, code-named "Aspen" and "Rainier." Microsoft VP Paul Gross said that Aspen (Visual Studio 98) would be ready by the second half of 1998 and will support Internet Explorer 4.0 controls, Dynamic HTML, Windows NT 5.0 technologies, and the new DNA architecture. Ranier (Visual Studio 99) will support COM+, the next version of COM, and will ship in 1999.

"We actually are going to deliver before the release of Aspen an SDK for COM+ to get you started on those technologies," Gross said.

As part of his demonstration, Gross showed the next version of Visual InterDev (now in pre-Alpha state), and Visual J++. An interim version of Visual C++, likely to be named Visual C++ 5.1, will be released in October so developers can take advantage of IE 4.0 and other new technologies. Also expected next week is a new version of Active Data Objects (ADO), version 1.5. ADO 1.5 will also be supported in the Aspen release of Visual Studio.

The big surprise during this demonstration wasn't a new tool or technology but rather Microsoft's new solidarity with long-time enemy Borland. After a bitter legal battle involving employees moving to Microsoft, the two companies have seemingly emerged as friends. Borland VP of research and development took the stage to support Microsoft's new technologies.

"Borland is really committed to supporting the Microsoft platform," he said, mentioning that Borland and Microsoft own a combined 80% of the tools market