In-Depth

Update on Visual Studio 2005

Microsoft provided an update on Visual Studio 2005''s progress and features at VSLive! Las Vegas last week.

Prashant Sridharan, Microsoft's senior product manager for Visual Studio, provided an update on Visual Studio 2005's progress and features during a keynote address at VSLive! Las Vegas last week.

The enhanced Microsoft languages feature generics, iterators, partial types, and the My classes (Visual Basic). Smart client and Web development features include ClickOnce, new controls, improved designers, better data support, and a code reduction of up to 70 percent in ASP.NET, said Sridharan.

Microsoft's Jay Schmelzer stepped in at this point to demonstrate the construction of a smart client application, which leveraged many of these features. Schmelzer used Beta 2 to put together a decent RSS (blog) reader in less than 10 minutes. The coolest thing about the application was its striking resemblance to the look-and-feel of Outlook 2003 out of the box; Visual Studio 2005 provides many of Office's look-and-feel controls, such as an advanced Toolstrip and Taskbar.

Microsoft even updated its venerable list of graphics. Look for a folder named VisualStudio2005Images under \Common7 to see what I mean. Schmelzer, being a Visual Basic guy, couldn't help himself and had to show off VB's code snippet and newly integrated refactoring support, thanks to Developer Express. As a finale, he right-clicked on his project and selected Publish, which automatically generated the ClickOnce support—the ultimate delivery vehicle for smart clients.

Sridharan then introduced the lineup of Visual Studio editions, including the many Express editions meant for hobbyists and students. He summed it up best by saying that when an Express edition is given to a young student, he or she can quickly build cool applications and "by accident ... learn how to program."

The Express editions, however, have restrictions, such as not being able to access remote data sources. Professionals will want to select the Standard or Professional edition, depending on the applications they intend to build. The Professional edition will support all code-writing scenarios. It is equivalent in scope to the Visual Studio 2003 Enterprise Architect edition, but includes many new features as well as a nifty class designer interface.

Team System, on the other hand, resides at the opposite end of the spectrum from Express. Team System is a suite of tools, delivered in separate editions of Visual Studio 2005, to support the entire software development lifecycle. Architects will have their own edition that will let them use the Distributed System Designers to model applications and logical datacenters as a way to "design for operations," which is to increase the chance of a successful deployment later in the lifecycle. Developers will have an edition that includes many code-quality and defect-testing utilities, such as dynamic and static code analyzers, performance profiling, unit testing, and code coverage. Testers can also unit test and determine code coverage. Plus, they will be able to build and execute Web tests, load tests, and manual tests as well.

About the Author

Richard Hundhausen is a principal and senior consultant at Accentient, specializing in Team System training and consulting. He wrote the book, Working with Visual Studio 2005 Team Systemrichard@accentient.com.

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