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Subscribers to Microsoft's MSDN technical service can start downloading the "release candidate," or RC, of the next version of Microsoft Visual Studio 2010, company executives announced.
For everyone else, the RC -- the final stage of testing before product the company's development suite is released -- will become available for download on Wednesday.
"Today, we are making available the Release Candidate for Visual Studio 2010 and .NET Framework 4 to all MSDN subscribers. The RC will be made available to the world on Wednesday, February 10th," S. "Soma" Somasegar, senior vice president of the Developer Division at Microsoft, said in a post on his blog on Monday.
That apparently keeps Visual Studio 2010 on track for an April 12 release, as the company had said in January.
Visual Studio 2010 was briefly delayed in December when Microsoft officials said that feedback from the beta test cycle had convinced them that more work was required before it could be released.
That bumped the developer suite's ship date from a tentative March 22 launch date to April 12, a date that the company now appears on track to make.
Visual Studio is Microsoft's mainstream developer tool suite and includes an integrated development environment. The .NET Framework 4, meanwhile, provides Microsoft's common language runtime (CLR) as well as the framework's class library.
The second beta test of Visual Studio 2010 and .NET Framework 4 began in November at Microsoft's Professional Developers Conference (PDC) in Los Angeles.
In his own blog entry, Jason Zander, general manager for Visual Studio, outlined some of the changes Microsoft's developers made in response to beta tester feedback.
"Many of you pointed out areas of performance where we were not at parity with VS2008 and it was impacting your ability to adopt the product," Zander said.
Among testers' complaints addressed in the RC: "general UI responsiveness (including painting, menus, remote desktop and VMs), editing (typing, scrolling, and Intelisense), designers (Silverlight and Window Presentation Foundation in particular), improved memory usage, debugging (stepping, managed / native interop), build times, and solution/project load," Zander said in his post.
The RC will be available here.