Microsoft Announces Visual Studio 2010
Details are being released in bits and pieces, instead of Microsoft's usual all-or-nothing approach.
In recent years, Microsoft has made a practice of sharing information about its developer tools ever earlier in the development cycle. This stands in stark contrast to Microsoft's everything-is-NDA-until-it-drops approach that itenforced in the pre-.NET era. I've lauded this effort several times -- the sooner you can learn about upcoming development tools, the sooner you can learn to use them, and the more prepared you can be when the technologies become available.
The frequent community technology previews (CTPs) have taken things a step further. Microsoft is not only sharing information about upcoming tools, but giving you a chance to play with technology before it debuts, which gives you even more of a chance to shape your upcoming technology bets. Of course, there are a couple obvious downsides to this. First, not everything you see in a CTP is guaranteed to make it to release. This means that a new can't-live-without-it feature might never see the light of day, or at least not in the form you saw it initially. Second, keeping abreast of what is to come -- or only might come -- adds to the burden of being a developer.
It's hard enough to stay current if you focus only on what's shipping now. Expanding your areas of interest to include future technologies or possible future technologies might be enough to make you run screaming for a more predictable profession. Financial forecasting, anyone? OK, maybe not.
Perhaps it's this sense of information overload that has prompted Microsoft to adopt a new approach when it comes to releasing information about the next iteration of Visual Studio. Beginning Sept. 29 and continuing for several days afterward, Microsoft released a steady stream of announcements about the next iteration of Visual Studio. These announcements took the form of video interviews and have been posted to Microsoft's developer video site, Channel 9. The first order of business covered in these videos was announcing the name of the next version of its developer suite (Visual Studio 2010), as well as the next iteration of the .NET Framework (it will be called version 4.0). Be sure to check out Norman Guadagno's video on VS 2010, which kicked off that spate of announcements.
The videos prove an interesting approach to previewing information, but one that's only moderately successful. It's hard to skim these videos for the content you might be most interested in and pick out the highlights; instead, you're stuck on the timetable of whoever made the video. The length of these videos -- several of which stretch longer than 30 minutes -- makes me wish there were transcripts; of course, the length of videos probably ensures such transcripts will never exist! Short of that, I'd love to see chapter stops and jump points where you could go straight to specific information about a particular topic. You can find a full page of videos that cover upcoming features in Visual Studio 2010 here.
If videos aren't your thing, you can find general summaries of upcoming features here and here. But be warned: The information on these pages tends to be sketchy compared to what you can find in the videos on Channel 9, filled with cryptic marketing speak like "the democratization of ALM" and rather short on details. The videos suffer a bit from this marketing speak, but there are enough specifics to make some of them worthwhile. For example, the Guadagno video includes at least a couple explanations that discuss what Microsoft means by "democratizing ALM" -- none of which have anything to do with democracy, as far as I can tell.
You can find better information than what is contained in the general online summaries about Visual Studio 2010 by following the various Visual Studio blogs, including those of Beth Massi, the VB team, and Daniel Fernandez, among others.
As the features in VS 2010 take shape, VSM will of course provide you with more information about these forthcoming features and how they'll likely impact you. Stay tuned!
Talk Back: What do you think of the announcements related to Visual Studio 2010? Tell me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Patrick Meader is editor in chief of Visual Studio Magazine.