Visual Interdev is the web page development arm of Visual Studio. While it is in fact an expensive text editor, as stx23 pointed out, that is primarily not what it is used for. Think of Visual Interdev as a souped up FrontPage, with better editing and code debugging, without things such as auto controls (like automatic counters and highlight-buttons) and without templates.

Typcially, you would use this product in conjunction with a FrontPage Server Extensions enabled web site to publish to and debug a running web server. Typically, IIS comes with these extensions out of the box, and I believe that there are other sorts of compatible extensions for Apache. You connect to a site, and work from it, or you can work from a local directory.

Visual Interdev has three useful viewing modes. There is the source viewing mode, the layout editing mode, and the web mode (to see what the web page would look like, finished). All in all, the tool is quite useful (especially if you got it as a part of visual studio, and all you wanted was Visual C++ or VB. You can, however, do without it; I don't use it for my ASP work. Microsoft publishes a free script debugger (non-creatively named Microsoft Script Debugger) that gives you the same sort of functionality that this program would in terms of error generation. Typically, I find it more useful to work directly off of a local IIS machine, than to use Interdev, although some Web shops use it almost exclusively. I find the editor of Visual Studio particularly handy, as it is memory mapped, and thus much faster than Windows Notepad for editing most large text files.

Interdev was new to the Visual Studio suite of applications with Visual Studio 97. It has been maintained with that group of apps, and has been service packed several times since it's release. It has yet to be seen whether Interdev will be a part of Visual Studio.NET.

Interdev's competitors include FrontPage (for the consumer), Adobe GoLive, Macromedia DreamWeaver, and other small end text editing programs. There are other development system competitors, such as Allaire ColdFusion and the like, but those are general competitors to the ASP platform, more than Microsoft Visual Interdev in general.

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