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Microsoft is starting work on a "live" version of its Visual Studio integrated development environment (IDE) and is courting input from Windows developers on the project.

John Montgomery, a director who spent seven years in Microsoft developer division marketing, has become a product manager to help define features in Visual Studio Live.

Montgomery already has some ideas about what Visual Studio Live will offer, but is looking for more input.

Bill Gates, Microsoft's chief software architect, launched the "live software" strategy last November. Live software taps into a growing trend for software to be delivered online, with relevant data and content held on back-end servers.

Microsoft has already pitched the Office Live and Windows Live services, which have emerged as fairly uninspiring and unoriginal hosted website and email services and links to other websites and communities of interest.

According to Montgomery, Visual Studio 2005 - also launched last November - already contains some online features. These include help that searches the Microsoft Developer Network (MSDN) and Microsoft's CodeZone community in addition to locally installed .hxs files for answers.

There is no word when Microsoft plans to roll out Visual Studio Live, although - if Web 2.0 as typified by Windows Live is anything to go by - we will probably see a beta made available online for testing well in advance of the first full offering. ®

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