Home > Articles > Programming > Windows Programming

What's New in Visual Studio .NET

Tech journalist Jacqueline Emigh pinpoints the key enhancements in Microsoft's new Visual Studio .NET 2003 development environment.
Like this article? We recommend

Like this article? We recommend

Microsoft Visual Studio .NET 2003 (VS 2003), formerly codenamed Everett, doesn't introduce as much new functionality as the original Visual Studio .NET, also known as VS 2002. However, according to Microsoft at least, the learning curve for the new VS 2003 is much quicker. Released in April, Microsoft's latest integrated development environment (IDE) brings lots of cool new features to the developer's table, while at the same time enabling easy migration of existing applications.

Most important to developers who are considering the upgrade, VS 2003 offers new Java integration, extensive built-in mobile development, and support for Microsoft .NET Framework 1.1. The new IDE also adds a number of productivity enhancements that promise faster development, better application monitoring, and easier database connectivity, for instance. Meanwhile, Microsoft is separately releasing a series of PowerToys utilities that add more new capabilities to VS 2003. Here are the details on both VS 2003's best new features and the PowerToys.

New Features

VS 2003 includes plenty of new features. The following sections describe what I think are the best ones.

Java Support

VS 2003 brings first-time integration with Visual J#, a tool for Java developers who want to use Microsoft's .NET framework to build applications and XML Web services. Outside of Visual J#, VS 2003 also supports Visual Basic (VB), Visual C++, and Visual C# developers. The new IDE is available in Standard, Professional, Enterprise Developer, and Enterprise Architect editions.

.NET 1.1 Support

If you want to build applications supporting Microsoft's new .NET Framework 1.1, VS 2003 appears to be an absolute must. According to Microsoft, NET 1.1 provides increased scalability with support for up to 32 processors, along with improvements such as better mobile and database support. It also supports IPv6 and, for the ASP.NET platform only, tighter permissions lockdown through code access security.

Side-by-Side Development

For easier migration to the new development environment, you can run VS 2003 and .NET 1.1 side by side with VS 2002 and .NET 1.0.

This new capability is enabled by side-by-side execution, an enhancement in version 1.1 that permits execution of multiple versions of applications or components on the same computer.

However, successful side-by-side development assumes you have adequate disk space to run both frameworks and both IDEs. VS 2003 alone requires 900MB of available disk space on the system drive and 3.3GB of available space on the installation drive.

VS 2003 also includes a setting that lets you compile for either .NET 1.1 or .NET 1.0. Be careful, however, not to compile code to version 1.0 that requires brand-new capabilities in version 1.1.

You should also be aware that VS 2003 uses different file extensions than VB 2002. If you open a project already started in VS 2002, a pop-up appears informing you that the 2002 project is about to be converted to VS 2003 format.

Native Mobile Support

For VB and C# developers, VS 2003 comes with two types of native mobile support. By using VS 2003's built-in Compact Framework—together with Microsoft Windows Forms Designer—you can create applications for mobile devices running on the Pocket PC, the Pocket PC Phone Edition, or Windows CE .NET operating system.

Alternatively, VB and C# developers can use VS 2003's integrated ASP.NET Web Forms—along with VS .NET Designer—to build thin-client applications for more than 200 Web site META-enabled devices. The supported devices include WAP phones, pagers, and PDAs.

Better Database Support

VS 2003 also come with new managed data provider tools, for easier connectivity to Microsoft SQL Server, Microsoft Jet, Oracle, and ODBC databases.

Quicker Development

Also in VS 2003, Microsoft introduces enhancements to both code completion and IntelliSense. IntelliSense, a design-time assistant, now appears in the immediate window, for easier access.

Here's another time-saver that Microsoft has been demonstrating to developers and journalists. If you type Try at the beginning and end of the handling block, VS automatically inserts the stub code for the rest of the block.

Web Services

Other new tools in VS 2003 support the latest Web services standards, including WS-Security, WS-Routing, WS-Attachments, and Direct Internet Messaging (DIME).

Code Obfuscation

Also new in VS 2003 is a built-in utility for source code obfuscation.

In addition, VS developers can now download Microsoft's Enterprise Implementation Framework (EIF), a tool that the company promises lets you quickly add runtime monitoring to your applications.

The source code obfuscation tool, PreEmptive Dotfuscator Community Edition, is the "lite" version of a product from PreEmptive Solutions, a Microsoft ISV partner based in Cleveland. Microsoft says it included the tool to protect the intellectual property of programmers who distribute VS 2003 code, as well as to help developers reduce the size and improve the performance of mobile and other .NET applications. The tool is designed to render Microsoft Intermediate Language (MSIL), which is said to be very difficult, if not impossible, to reverse-engineer into comprehensible source code.

Improved Upgrade Wizard

Microsoft improved the VS Upgrade Wizard, a tool for VB developers only, with first-time support for user controls and Web classes.

The enhanced Upgrade Wizard is designed to automatically upgrade Visual Basic 6.0 projects when opened in VS 2003. The tool modifies the language for syntax changes, while also converting VB 6.0 forms.

The wizard also notifies developers when manual changes need to be made to code. To view the code statement, you navigate to the Task List window and double-click on the task item.

InformIT Promotional Mailings & Special Offers

I would like to receive exclusive offers and hear about products from InformIT and its family of brands. I can unsubscribe at any time.


Pearson Education, Inc., 221 River Street, Hoboken, New Jersey 07030, (Pearson) presents this site to provide information about products and services that can be purchased through this site.

This privacy notice provides an overview of our commitment to privacy and describes how we collect, protect, use and share personal information collected through this site. Please note that other Pearson websites and online products and services have their own separate privacy policies.

Collection and Use of Information

To conduct business and deliver products and services, Pearson collects and uses personal information in several ways in connection with this site, including:

Questions and Inquiries

For inquiries and questions, we collect the inquiry or question, together with name, contact details (email address, phone number and mailing address) and any other additional information voluntarily submitted to us through a Contact Us form or an email. We use this information to address the inquiry and respond to the question.

Online Store

For orders and purchases placed through our online store on this site, we collect order details, name, institution name and address (if applicable), email address, phone number, shipping and billing addresses, credit/debit card information, shipping options and any instructions. We use this information to complete transactions, fulfill orders, communicate with individuals placing orders or visiting the online store, and for related purposes.


Pearson may offer opportunities to provide feedback or participate in surveys, including surveys evaluating Pearson products, services or sites. Participation is voluntary. Pearson collects information requested in the survey questions and uses the information to evaluate, support, maintain and improve products, services or sites, develop new products and services, conduct educational research and for other purposes specified in the survey.

Contests and Drawings

Occasionally, we may sponsor a contest or drawing. Participation is optional. Pearson collects name, contact information and other information specified on the entry form for the contest or drawing to conduct the contest or drawing. Pearson may collect additional personal information from the winners of a contest or drawing in order to award the prize and for tax reporting purposes, as required by law.


If you have elected to receive email newsletters or promotional mailings and special offers but want to unsubscribe, simply email information@informit.com.

Service Announcements

On rare occasions it is necessary to send out a strictly service related announcement. For instance, if our service is temporarily suspended for maintenance we might send users an email. Generally, users may not opt-out of these communications, though they can deactivate their account information. However, these communications are not promotional in nature.

Customer Service

We communicate with users on a regular basis to provide requested services and in regard to issues relating to their account we reply via email or phone in accordance with the users' wishes when a user submits their information through our Contact Us form.

Other Collection and Use of Information

Application and System Logs

Pearson automatically collects log data to help ensure the delivery, availability and security of this site. Log data may include technical information about how a user or visitor connected to this site, such as browser type, type of computer/device, operating system, internet service provider and IP address. We use this information for support purposes and to monitor the health of the site, identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents and appropriately scale computing resources.

Web Analytics

Pearson may use third party web trend analytical services, including Google Analytics, to collect visitor information, such as IP addresses, browser types, referring pages, pages visited and time spent on a particular site. While these analytical services collect and report information on an anonymous basis, they may use cookies to gather web trend information. The information gathered may enable Pearson (but not the third party web trend services) to link information with application and system log data. Pearson uses this information for system administration and to identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents, appropriately scale computing resources and otherwise support and deliver this site and its services.

Cookies and Related Technologies

This site uses cookies and similar technologies to personalize content, measure traffic patterns, control security, track use and access of information on this site, and provide interest-based messages and advertising. Users can manage and block the use of cookies through their browser. Disabling or blocking certain cookies may limit the functionality of this site.

Do Not Track

This site currently does not respond to Do Not Track signals.


Pearson uses appropriate physical, administrative and technical security measures to protect personal information from unauthorized access, use and disclosure.


This site is not directed to children under the age of 13.


Pearson may send or direct marketing communications to users, provided that

  • Pearson will not use personal information collected or processed as a K-12 school service provider for the purpose of directed or targeted advertising.
  • Such marketing is consistent with applicable law and Pearson's legal obligations.
  • Pearson will not knowingly direct or send marketing communications to an individual who has expressed a preference not to receive marketing.
  • Where required by applicable law, express or implied consent to marketing exists and has not been withdrawn.

Pearson may provide personal information to a third party service provider on a restricted basis to provide marketing solely on behalf of Pearson or an affiliate or customer for whom Pearson is a service provider. Marketing preferences may be changed at any time.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user's personally identifiable information changes (such as your postal address or email address), we provide a way to correct or update that user's personal data provided to us. This can be done on the Account page. If a user no longer desires our service and desires to delete his or her account, please contact us at customer-service@informit.com and we will process the deletion of a user's account.


Users can always make an informed choice as to whether they should proceed with certain services offered by InformIT. If you choose to remove yourself from our mailing list(s) simply visit the following page and uncheck any communication you no longer want to receive: www.informit.com/u.aspx.

Sale of Personal Information

Pearson does not rent or sell personal information in exchange for any payment of money.

While Pearson does not sell personal information, as defined in Nevada law, Nevada residents may email a request for no sale of their personal information to NevadaDesignatedRequest@pearson.com.

Supplemental Privacy Statement for California Residents

California residents should read our Supplemental privacy statement for California residents in conjunction with this Privacy Notice. The Supplemental privacy statement for California residents explains Pearson's commitment to comply with California law and applies to personal information of California residents collected in connection with this site and the Services.

Sharing and Disclosure

Pearson may disclose personal information, as follows:

  • As required by law.
  • With the consent of the individual (or their parent, if the individual is a minor)
  • In response to a subpoena, court order or legal process, to the extent permitted or required by law
  • To protect the security and safety of individuals, data, assets and systems, consistent with applicable law
  • In connection the sale, joint venture or other transfer of some or all of its company or assets, subject to the provisions of this Privacy Notice
  • To investigate or address actual or suspected fraud or other illegal activities
  • To exercise its legal rights, including enforcement of the Terms of Use for this site or another contract
  • To affiliated Pearson companies and other companies and organizations who perform work for Pearson and are obligated to protect the privacy of personal information consistent with this Privacy Notice
  • To a school, organization, company or government agency, where Pearson collects or processes the personal information in a school setting or on behalf of such organization, company or government agency.


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that we are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of each and every web site that collects Personal Information. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this web site.

Requests and Contact

Please contact us about this Privacy Notice or if you have any requests or questions relating to the privacy of your personal information.

Changes to this Privacy Notice

We may revise this Privacy Notice through an updated posting. We will identify the effective date of the revision in the posting. Often, updates are made to provide greater clarity or to comply with changes in regulatory requirements. If the updates involve material changes to the collection, protection, use or disclosure of Personal Information, Pearson will provide notice of the change through a conspicuous notice on this site or other appropriate way. Continued use of the site after the effective date of a posted revision evidences acceptance. Please contact us if you have questions or concerns about the Privacy Notice or any objection to any revisions.

Last Update: November 17, 2020