by Peter Galli on March 10, 2011 05:20pm

As All About Microsoft's Mary Jo Foley reported yesterday, Microsoft has posted to CodePlex, our Open Source project hosting site, a test build of Python Tools for Visual Studio, a free, Open Source plug-in for Visual Studio 2010.

The Python Tools for Visual Studio (PTVS) is a free and open source plug-in for Visual Studio 2010, licensed under Apache 2.0 and developed by Microsoft's Technical Computing Group. It enables developers to use all the major productivity features of Visual Studio to build Python code using either CPython or IronPython.

It adds new features such as using High Performance Computing clusters to scale code. Together with one of the standard distros, it can be used to turn Visual Studio into a powerful Technical Computing IDE.

But it is important to note that PTVS is not a Python distribution; it works with an existing Python/IronPython installation to provide an integrated editing and debugging experience.

The first beta was delivered in conjunction with PyCon, which kicked off on March 7, and includes support for core IDE features and debugging and profiling. The second beta, due this summer, will add support for Cloud Computing (the ability to run compute-intensive Python code in Windows Azure); and support for Dryad (large-scale, data intensive parallel programming using Python code), Foley reports.