Microsoft's latest creation. As I write it's in Beta 1, and I'm installing it. It comes on four CDs, one of which is a pre-setup setup, which takes longer to run than the actual setup, and installs all sorts of "useful" things, such as IE 5.5, and Microsoft Frontpage 2000 extensions. Even if you haven't got a web server. How does that work?

In it, Visual Basic comes of age, gaining inheritance, initialisers, multithreading, and structured exeption handling (at long bloody last). And they chopped out a few useless pieces of language (gosub, etc.)

VB also includes several new features which you could only prevoiusly do using API calls and subclassing. Tray icons as an ActiveX control. And W2K Alpha blending (at least in part).

Visual C++ becomes even more bloatware, partly because it now shares its IDE with the aforementioned Basic, and the new kid on the block, C# (that's C Sharp, apparently). C#. Hmmm. If you ignore the corny name, where does that leave it?

Well, it's rather a cross between Java, VB, C++, and a hamster. In varying proportions.

The other new thing in the masterpiece that is Visual, is the marvellously useful capability to spontaneously change language. Yes, if you're programming in C++ and fancy a bit of the old C#, you can! Yes! You too can program on app in three different languages! Also common runtimes between all the languages.

The IDE is pretty intuitive. Microsoft have again taken it upon themselves to break their own UI rules. Menus are white, although the menu bars are gray. I quite like them. But they are wrong.

The downside: SPEED. Beta 1 is so slow. It brought my dual Celeron 550 with 128Mb of RAM to it's knees. It is only just usable. I hop MS speed it up before the final version, or I will not be buying my customary Enterprise Edition.