On February 8th the Visual Studio 2010 Release Candidate was released for MSDN subscribers. If you are not a MSDN subscriber then you can get your hands on VS 2010 on February 10th. To download follow this link.
If you are looking for reasons why you should install the newest version of Visual Studio and the .NET framework on your workstation then here are a few. This is not a complete list of features but a few of the major highlights:
What's New in VS 2010
- The Visual Studio Shell was rewritten in WPF – In my opinion VS 2010 is the first killer app for WPF. Overall, the basic layout is very similar to VS 2008 so it won't require much of a learning curve. You will however notice a slightly different design and color scheme. The WPF version of the IDE allows for richer visualizations and improved editor extensibility.
- Performance Enhancements – VS 2010 is much more responsive than previous versions. I immediately noticed improved build times and a much speedier add-reference dialog. Hallelujah.
- Multiple Monitor Support – If you don't have two or more monitors then you are handicapping your productivity.
- Multi-Targeting – You can target any framework between 2.0 and 4
- Improved Templates If you are doing MVC development then you will be happy to hear that there are now two MVC templates. The "nerd dinner" template in addition to the empty MVC application template.
New Features in .NET 4
- Built in Charting Controls – Previously the Microsoft Chart Controls were available as a separate download. Now they are included in the .NET 4 framework. I wrote a blog post about using the Chart Controls in MVC if you are interested.
- Auto-Start ASP.NET Applications – In older versions of ASP.NET you would find yourself waiting the first time you hit a web application. This is because the first user who hits the an ASP.NET application is actually compiling it. With the Auto-Start feature in ASP.NET 4 we get the ability to automatically startup and initialize the web application without waiting for the first user to access the page.
- Dynamic Language Runtime – New features in framework that allow for late-binding, covariance and optional parameters. To support the DLR the new namespace System.Dynamic has been added to the framework.
- MVC 2
- Includes the new feature called "areas" which allows you to group controllers and views. This will allow you to break components of your MVC application into separate projects which can then be referenced by the main application.
- You can now declaratively add validation rules to your Model and ViewModel classes. There is also automatic binding and UI helper validation support.
- New HTML UI Helpers will allow you to use strong-typed lambda expressions to reference the view template's model object. In addition this will provide for better compile time checking of errors and improved Intellisense.
- New HttpPost attribute will provide a shorthand method for using [AcceptVerbs(HttpVerbs.Post)]
- Parallel Computing – PLINQ or Parallel LINQ will allow developers to write multithreaded, asynchronous code with little effort. Also the new System.Threading.Tasks namespace will be introduced to support these efforts.
FAQs and Facts
- You can install Visual Studio 2010 side by side with Visual Studio 2008 and 2005 without any conflicts. Similarly, you can install the .NET Framework 4 on your machine without messing anything up.
- WebForms is still alive and kicking. Improvements are still being made in this area and MVC is by no means going to replace WebForms.
- Silverlight 3 projects are supported with VS 2010 RC but Silverlight 4 is currently not. If you are doing Silverlight 4 development stick with VS 2010 Beta 2.
- We do not refer to the new framework as "four point oh". Instead we refer to it as "dot net four". This is special thanks to the Microsoft Marketing team who likes to make our lives difficult.