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Microsoft's 'KittyHawk' RAD Tool Takes Flight

Microsoft's project 'KittyHawk', the company's latest rapid application development (RAD) tool designed to garner interest from hobbyist programmers, has now been officially named as Visual Studio LightSwitch.

With a public-beta download date of August 23, Microsoft is surely hoping to straddle the market in much the same way as it has done with previous Professional, Standard and Express versions of its products, with the latter being the most scaled down version.

Aimed at would-be programmers, Microsoft says this tool will enable users to create professional-quality business applications, "Regardless of your development skills."

While the release of Visual Studio LightSwitch suggests that Microsoft is perhaps trying to extend the popularity of the .Net framework outside of its traditional fan base, the prevalence of an increasing number of drag-and-drop tools is not always seen as a welcome development by programming purists.

Microsoft is aiming to counter critics of drag-and-drop development with this product by keeping the door open for those users with more advanced proficiency that feel they would prefer to code at the command line.

According to the Visual Studio LightSwitch">website, "If you need to write custom code, you can use Visual Basic .NET or C#. You can deploy to the desktop, browser, or cloud (post-Beta) to share your application with others more easily without the cumbersome installation processes."

Microsoft is still relatively tight-lipped as to the final rollout plans for this new tool and its position in relation to full-blown versions of Visual Studio. Only a watchful eye on the MSDN and the company's other programmer information channels will tell.

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