Microsoft is offering for download not only the Beta for the first upgrade to Visual Studio 2010, but also a testing Build of the developer resources designed to extend VS2010.

In tandem with the release of Visual Studio 2010 which went live last week, the software giant also provided the first Beta development milestone for the VS2010 software development kit.

Visual Studio 2010 Service Pack 1 (SP1) SDK Beta is live on the Microsoft Download Center, where devs can grab it free of charge and start testing it immediately.

“The Visual Studio 2010 SP1 SDK Beta includes project templates that help developers create tool windows, menu commands, isolated shell projects, and editor extensions. The editor extensions include text adornments, colorizers, and margins,” Microsoft revealed. More »

While laboring to produce the first Beta for Windows 7, Microsoft has dealt with issues that have survived past pre-Beta Build 6801. An illustrative example in this regard is associated with the Web Services application programming interface. The software giant revealed that automatic proxy settings retrieval tasks in Windows 7 pre-Beta build 6801 could fail when the Web Services API was involved. Moving forward to the next development milestone of Windows 7, the Redmond company has resolved the problem.

“When using Web Services API on Windows 7 Pre-Beta build 6801.0, you may get the following error in: Failure errorCode=0x803d0015 – Failed to retrieve the automatic proxy settings. The proxy could not process the request,” Nikola Dudar, program manager Visual C++ Team, revealed.

Microsoft delivered Build 6801 of the next iteration of Windows 7 at the Professional Developer Conference 2008 and the Windows Hardware Engineering Conference 2008 at the end of October, namely in early November. The company subsequently indicated that Windows 7 Beta would be made available at the start of 2009. “The root cause of the issue has already been fixed in the Beta builds of Web Services API. It should work just fine with Windows 7 Beta once it is available,” Dudar promised. More »

On December 9, Microsoft made available for download the last bouquet of security updates for 2008. the company released no less than eight security bulletins, six of them Critical and two rated as Important. Hot on the heels of the last round of patches for the year hitting Windows Update, the December 2008 Security Release ISO Image went live on the Microsoft Download Center. Via the Security Release ISO Image for the current month, the software giant is providing a single package for all the security updates designed for its Windows client and server operating systems, including Windows Vista Service Pack 1 and Windows XP Service Pack 3.

“As far as vulnerability counts go, this is the largest patch release since Microsoft started the ‘Patch Tuesday’ program back in late 2003. The release contains eight bulletins covering 28 vulnerabilities,” Symantec’s Robert Keith revealed.

“Of those issues, 23 are rated ‘Critical’ and affect Word, Outlook, Internet Explorer, Visual Basic ActiveX controls, GDI, Windows Search, and Excel. All of the ‘Critical’ issues this month require some sort of user interaction, whether visiting a Web page that contains malicious content or viewing a malicious file. The remaining issues affect GDI, Windows Search, SharePoint, and Windows Explorer; they range in importance from ‘Important’ to ‘Moderate.’” More »

The Visual Round Trip Analyzer was initially an internal Microsoft tool, which the Redmond company is now offering as a free download. Designed as a webpage performance visualizer and analyzer, according to the software company, Visual Round Trip Analyzer runs on top of Network Monitor 3.2 and is set up to offer a comprehensive perspective over the download of a specific webpage. The Redmond giant indicated that VRTA comes with support for Windows Vista RTM and SP1, Windows XP, Windows Server 2003 SP1 and Windows Server 2008.

“The Visual Round Trip Analyzer tool helps web developers and testers visualize the download of their page, identify best practices and changes that improve performance. The Round-Trip between the client and server(s) is the single biggest impact to web page performance – much greater than server response time. VRTA examines the communications protocol, identifying the causes of excessive round-trips, and recommending solutions,” Microsoft informed. More »

Despite being different releases associated with the evolution of the Windows client, Windows XP and Windows Vista share not only common elements and components through their architecture, starting with the kernel, but also flaws in the source code.

In this context, the Service Pack 1 and respectively Service Pack 3 refreshes for the two operating systems have done nothing to break the intimate connection between the two products. An illustrative example in this situation are the new Critical updates Microsoft is wrapping up for the 32-bit and 64-bit Vista SP1 and XP SP3, designed to patch security vulnerabilities in the two operating systems.

Next week, on September 9, 2008, Microsoft will make available three security bulletins impacting both the latest service packs for Vista and XP. According to the Redmond giant, the updates will patch vulnerabilities in Windows Media Player 11, Windows Media Encoder 9 Series, and Windows itself. More »