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Early Reports on VS 2010 Bits

When the beta finally appears, that's when things start to get interesting or maybe just more real.

Beta 1 of Visual Studio (VS) 2010 and .NET 4 was released about two weeks ago and Redmond Developer News is getting some feedback from developers who've downloaded the tooling.

Last week, Microsoft released the May 2009 CTP of the Windows Azure Tools for Visual Studio, which adds support for VS 2010 Beta 1. The caveat: Azure and .NET Services do not yet support .NET 4.

The Azure Tools provide C# and VB templates for cloud-based projects, debugging of the local development fabric and storage, and access via a WindowsLive ID to the Azure Services Developer Portal, which requires a token from Microsoft. The VS extension installs the Azure SDK, which was also updated last week.  

Early reports on the VS 2010 and .NET Framework 4 beta are fairly positive, considering these are still technology previews.

Joseph Megkousoglou, associate, lead software architect at property services firm Knight Frank LLP, lauded the clear separation between managed and native code in the installer. He was also pleased with the performance of VS 2010 on the Windows 7 RC. "I would happily use it as my main IDE (speedwise)," Megkousoglou said in an e-mail.

The TFS installation was another matter, however. "[It was] quite long and involved. As a Subversion guy, I am still trying to see the benefits of all the features TFS offers."

Still, his experience with the new bits has not caused tremendous headaches. "I have already loaded our main projects in VS 2010 and compiled them with .NET 4," the architect explained. "No major problems there. Performance is very similar to .NET 3.5. The main solution I loaded, comprised of nine different projects, is an ASP.NET application, uses LINQ and Enterprise Library components, and contains a total of 120K lines of code. This is one of our main applications that receives a huge amount of visitors every day."

"The biggest problem I have with it is stability," said David Barnhill, a senior consultant with New York-based Lab49. "It has crashed at random times on my machine. I haven't found a pattern to it. But the stability is not bad for a Beta 1 product. I have had much worse experiences."

The much-ballyhooed WPF editor, which makes its first appearance in the VS 2010 beta, is not the showstopper that some developers feared.

"While I think the performance is OK, I am sure it will get better," said Steve Forte, chief strategy officer of Telerik. "I am sure Beta 2 will have a full-fledged performance."

Forte is a fan of the new WPF shell. "The WPF editor will give us a ton of benefits," he said. "You can tell right way when you look at it, it looks different and quite frankly it's easier on the eyes."

Despite the new look and feel, VS 2010 remains familiar and easy to navigate. "It's actually close enough to the development environment of 2008 where you can find your way around, really easily. Things are pretty much in the same places they were before even though there's a new editor," Barnhill said.

"One of the big things they are going to fix is the text in the display is a little blurry now," he continued. "There are some problems that are in WPF's font rendering that they will be fixing in the Beta 2 of the .NET Framework version 4 -- that's something that a lot of people really hate."

This month's Visual Studio Magazine cover story looks at what's in .NET 4 that will make developers more productive day to day. "With 4, I see less new things and more of an extension in terms of beefing up what's there -- the Windows Communication Foundation, Windows Presentation Foundation, Workflow services," said Mark Driver, vice president of research at Gartner Inc., in the VSM article. "I don't see a whole lot of new APIs but rather the evolution of APIs that they introduced in as part of 3.5."

Do you agree with Driver's assessment? How will .NET 4 and VS 2010 make you more productive? Express your views below or contact me directly at krichards@reddevnews.com.

Posted by Kathleen Richards on 06/02/2009 at 1:15 PM


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