by June 29, 2007 0 comments

Microsoft has developed numerous developer friendly software products in
past- especially in terms of APIs, SDKs, documentation and of course their
development tools. The new version of Visual Studio 2008-till now better known
by its codename ‘Orcas’ -has been recently released as the first public Beta 1.
This release, as with every previous releases, raises the bar for developers and
introduces a large number of features that increase productivity and make the
life of developers’ easier. Let’s take a look at some of the new and interesting
features of this Beta.

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Visual Studio 2008

.NET 3.5
Every version of Visual Studio targets a particular version of .NET. VS 2002
was .NET 1.0, VS 2003 was for .NET 1.1 and VS 2005 targeted .NET 2.0. VS 2008 by
default targets .NET 3.5-but you can now select which .NET version you wish to
target your code for at anytime-while creating the project or even during the
development. Obviously, if you’re using a feature that an earlier version of
.NET doesn’t support and you try to build using that platform, you will get an
error. So what is .NET 3.5 anyway? This version is actually a stack built on the
new features from .NET 3.0 and beyond-including things like the ASP.NET Ajax
Framework and others (which we will discuss shortly). Full support for the core
.NET 3.0 functionality is built in. That is, you can now develop WPF and WF apps
in both design and source mode without requiring to install add-ons. A large
number of project templates also allow you greater flexibility in choosing how
you wish to develop and deploy your application-for instance, when creating a
WPF application you can select whether to create a normal WPF application for
Windows, an XBAP Browser Application or a Custom WPF Control library.

The great news for Web developers is that in this version of ASP.NET, stuff
like Ajax is built-in. That is, you can now start creating extremely dynamic
sites using Web 2.0 features very easily and quickly thanks to the server- and
client-side support for Ajax. Also included is the Ajax Control Toolkit-a
Microsoft supported, community driven set of drag-and-drop controls for Web
pages that enable cool Ajax functionality into your site without having to write
any code at all.

There are a lot of new project templates in
VS 2008 when the default .NET Framework 3.5 is selected, however, they
reduce when you change to .NET 3.0 or .NET 2.0

The Visual Studio Tools for Office (VSTO) also gets a facelift here and is
included out of the box. VSTO can not only target all the Office client
applications (such as Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Visio, Outlook, Access and
InfoPath), but also include deep integration with all the Office server
components (such as WSS, MOSS 2007, Excel Services, Forms Services and WF).

You can develop anything from a new button on the Office 2007 Ribbon to
building extremely complex workflows that are going to be hosted in SharePoint
for using Excel or Forms services. This ability gives developers a large number
of options in making their projects, user tried and tested platforms, instead of
having to invest in developing code themselves.

The Language Integrated Query (LINQ) is a new feature of VS 2008 that allows
you to encapsulate different data sources into objects using a new modeling
technique and then use the simple LINQ object syntax to perform queries against
this model. For instance, if traditionally you were using SQL to query data from
RDBMS’ and XPath/XQuery for XML, you now no longer need to do this. Instead of
using a graphical designer you can map each table or XML into objects (in
memory) and then use LINQ to select from or insert, update or delete the data
without having to know or care in which format is the actual data stored-in a DB
or in an XML. PCQuest had carried an article on LINQ a few months back.

Other enhancements
There are many other enhancements available in VS 2008. Some of them are
listed below:

Creating a WPF application allows you to
change it both in the XAML code as well as in the designer interface

JavaScript IntelliSense
Finally, client side JavaScript also gets IntelliSense that allows
developers to write client side scripts for the Web much faster and with lesser
errors. You also get great client side debugging as well.

Web Designer
The Web page designer in VS 2008 has been significantly improved and allows
better handling of CSS and XHTML. Multi target for Web applications for .NET
2/3/3.5 is also available.

Team Suite Enhancements
Each of the Team Suite editions (Architect, Developer, DBA and Tester) has a
number of additional features included in the new version. The Team Foundation
Server also gets a number of new features-such as multithreaded builds,
continuous integration and more.

All in all, VS 2008 looks like a great new release that will come for
developers-with a number of features that will hopefully make the life of
developers easier and lead to better products overall in terms of security,
stability, reliability and user interface as well.

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