Visual Studio 2010 and Silverlight 4 Released

Microsoft today is officially launching Visual Studio (VS) 2010 at the Microsoft Visual Studio Conference & Expo in Las Vegas. A major update of Microsoft's flagship integrated development environment (IDE), VS2010 incorporates an advanced user interface, powerful integration and customization technology, as well as improved ALM capabilities and extended support for key Microsoft developer platforms.

In addition to the VS2010 launch, Microsoft released the final version of .NET Framework 4, an important update to its managed framework that delivers a host of underpinning technologies for .NET application developers. Also released on Monday was the final version of Silverlight 4, Microsoft's rich Internet application (RIA) platform. Silverlight 4 boasts key improvements for business application developers, including out-of-browser execution and improved data binding.

“We’re excited to celebrate the launch of Visual Studio 2010 with developers around the world today,” Bob Muglia, president of the Server and Tools Business at Microsoft, said in a statement before the keynote. “The functionality of Visual Studio 2010, .NET Framework 4 and Silverlight 4 creates a powerful and unique combination, opening up new opportunities for developers to build applications that take advantage of new and existing devices, as well as emerging platforms like cloud services.”

VS2010 in the Spotlight

Among the most visible new capabilities of VS2010 is the redesigned user interface, based on Windows Presentation Foundation 4 (WPF4). The new UI enables a more flexible and visual developer workspace, with precise rich text handling and multi-monitor support. VS2010 also promises significantly enhanced extensibility, with the Managed Extensibility Framework (MEF) enabling third-parties to seamlessly integrate functionality to the IDE.

VS2010 targets support for several critical Microsoft platforms. SharePoint tooling in VS2010 has been extensively overhauled, enabling a first-class experience for SharePoint developers in the new IDE. VS2010 provides native support for SharePoint projects and templates, as well as one-slick deploy/debug/test capability. Windows Azure is also aggressively supported in the new release, providing a family ASP.NET-like experience for developers creating apps for the cloud.

VS2010 also provides new tooling for Silverlight 4, Windows Phone 7 mobile development and ASP.NET Model-View-Controller (MVC) projects, which enable developers to separate the appearance and core business logic of Web applications. While tooling for Silverlight 4 is not present in the current version of VS2010, Microsoft expects to add a Silverlight 4 designer soon. Developers will be able to download the Silverlight 4 tooling free from Microsoft.

Application lifecycle management (ALM) is an important area of focus in VS2010, which no longer limits key test and collaboration functionality to Team System versions of Visual Studio. IntelliTrace, described by Dave Mendlen, Microsoft senior director of developer marketing as a “time machine” for developers and testers, captures an application's execution history so a bug can be literally played back on a tester's machine. IntelliTrace promises to help end the scourge of non-reproducible bugs. Improved test and collaboration resources are also included in the release.

“The enhanced testing features in Visual Studio 2010 automate the majority of common tasks and streamline the flow of information across our team,” said Steve Schlonski, vice president, Xerox Global Services, Global Technology and Offering Development. “This has led to a significant productivity increase; when you combine this with the ability to have a single unified view of project status, it dramatically drives down project risk.”

At the show, Microsoft released a new collaboration product, called Visual Studio Team Explorer Everywhere 2010. A Team Foundation Server (TFS) tool for developers working outside of Visual Studio, VS Team Explorer Everywhere appeals to shops doing Java development on Windows and on Mac platforms, said Microsoft.

At the show Microsoft also announced that it was extending its Ultimate Offer program for two weeks beyond the original April 12 end date. The Ultimate Offer gives existing Visual Studio customers with a premium MSDN subscription the ability to step up to a higher level SKU when they move to VS2010. For instance, a developer shop using Visual Studio 2008 Professional would be eligible to upgrade to Visual Studio 2010 Premium under the program.

About the Author

Michael Desmond is an editor and writer for 1105 Media's Enterprise Computing Group.

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