Rick Ross from the JavaLobby has some very interesting comments about .NET 2.0, SQL 2005 and VS 2005.   They seemed to be pretty impressed with these new technologies.  Here are some excerpts (remember that these comments are from one of the leading proponents of Java):

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Although there were hundreds of products and ideas discussed, these are some of the specific impressions that stayed with me now that we’ve had a few days for things to sink in.

First, ASP.NET 2.0 is truly impressive. It drives the state of the art forward with a rich set of high-level modular components for creating and deploying web applications. Most of us have hassled with creating yet another member registration or login block in a web application, but ASP.NET 2.0 makes those hassles a thing of the past. You can tell that Microsoft sets its product development priorities by listening to where its customers feel pain. Of course, I have no idea how much pain the customers will feel in their bank accounts to have this power, but the technology is simply outstanding.

Second, Visual Studio is a powerhouse that makes the other Microsoft products possible, and the 2005 version (also called "Whidbey") has a ton of new features that make .NET

The "sleeper" of the whole array of Microsoft products is their new MSDE, the free database engine that I had previously thought was just a renamed Access "Jet" engine. Not so, not at all. In fact, the MSDE is actually the complete and highly advanced SQL Server 2005 product with a few limits imposed. I don’t think many (if any) of the other popular free databases give you the same level of SQL and XML data management power that you get with MSDE. Not only that, but it has free, pure Java type 4 JDBC drivers from DataDirect so you can use it for your Java applications without having anything to do with "proprietary lock-in." The limits are not severe, and I think MSDE may be something more useful to Java developers than most of us have realized.

Finally, C-Sharp and the .NET architectures are evolving, and smart people are working hard to make them better. Personally, I like the fact that platform-vendor competition is leading to better tools for developers like us, and hopefully raising the bar for our customers and end-users, too. Longhorn and Avalon are powerful technologies that I expect will fundamentally alter end-user expectations for both desktop and web applications. The line between the two may blur so much that it becomes hard to distinguish one from the other. The Avalon demo we saw compares favorably with the "wow" factor of Project Looking Glass, and Avalon will be available on hundreds of millions of desktops soon.

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ASP.NET 2.0 is very impressive

•VS.NET 2005 earns its reputation

•New MSDE database offers power I haven’t seen in other free databases

•C-Sharp & .NET architectures continue to move forward with thoughtful features

•Longhorn & Avalon technologies will fundamentally alter client-side expectations