Visual Studio 2010 and .NET 4 Released
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by Scott Guthrie
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What is new with VS 2010 and .NET 4

Today’s release is a big one – and brings with it a ton of new feature and capabilities.

One of the things we tried hard to focus on with this release was to invest heavily in making existing applications, projects and developer experiences better.  What this means is that you don’t need to read 1000+ page books or spend time learning major new concepts in order to take advantage of the release.  There are literally thousands of improvements (both big and small) that make you more productive and successful without having to learn big new concepts in order to start using them. 

Below is just a small sampling of some of the improvements with this release:

Visual Studio 2010 IDE 

Visual Studio 2010 now supports multiple-monitors (enabling much better use of screen real-estate).  It has new code Intellisense support that makes it easier to find and use classes and methods. It has improved code navigation support for searching code-bases and seeing how code is called and used.  It has new code visualization support that allows you to see the relationships across projects and classes within projects, as well as to automatically generate sequence diagrams to chart execution flow. 

The editor now supports HTML and JavaScript snippet support as well as improved JavaScript intellisense. The VS 2010 Debugger and Profiling support is now much, much richer and enables new features like Intellitrace (aka Historical Debugging), debugging of Crash/Dump files, and better parallel debugging.  VS 2010’s multi-targeting support is now much richer, and enables you to use VS 2010 to target .NET 2, .NET 3, .NET 3.5 and .NET 4 applications.  And the infamous Add Reference dialog now loads much faster.

TFS 2010 is now easy to setup (you can now install the server in under 10 minutes) and enables great source-control, bug/work-item tracking, and continuous integration support.  Testing support (both automated and manual) is now much, much richer.  And VS 2010 Premium and Ultimate provide much better architecture and design tooling support.

VB and C# Language Features

VB and C# in VS 2010 both contain a bunch of new features and capabilities.  VB adds new support for automatic properties, collection initializers, and implicit line continuation support among many other features.  C# adds support for optional parameters and named arguments, a new dynamic keyword, co-variance and contra-variance, and among many other features.


With ASP.NET 4, Web Forms controls now render clean, semantically correct, and CSS friendly HTML markup. Built-in URL routing functionality allows you to expose clean, search engine friendly, URLs and increase the traffic to your Website.  ViewState within applications can now be more easily controlled and made smaller. Client IDs rendered by server controls can now be controlled.  ASP.NET Dynamic Data support has been enhanced.  More controls, including rich charting and data controls, are now built-into ASP.NET 4 and enable you to build applications even faster.  New starter project templates now make it easier to get going with new projects.  SEO enhancements make it easier to drive traffic to your public facing sites.  And web.config files are now clean and simple.

ASP.NET MVC 2 is now built-into VS 2010 and ASP.NET 4, and provides a great way to build web sites and applications using a model-view-controller based pattern. ASP.NET MVC 2 adds features to easily enable client and server validation logic, provides new strongly-typed HTML and UI-scaffolding helper methods.  It also enables more modular/reusable applications.  The new <%: %> syntax in ASP.NET makes it easier to HTML encode output.  Visual Studio 2010 also now includes better tooling support for unit testing and TDD.  In particular, “Consume first intellisense” and “generate from usage" support within VS 2010 make it easier to write your unit tests first, and then drive your implementation from them.

Deploying ASP.NET applications gets a lot easier with this release. You can now publish your Websites and applications to a staging or production server from within Visual Studio itself. Visual Studio 2010 makes it easy to transfer all your files, code, configuration, database schema and data in one complete package. VS 2010 also makes it easy to manage separate web.config configuration files settings depending upon whether you are in debug, release, staging or production modes.

WPF 4 and Silverlight 4

WPF 4 includes a ton of new improvements and capabilities including more built-in controls, richer graphics features (cached composition, pixel shader 3 support, layoutrounding, and animation easing functions), a much improved text stack (with crisper text rendering, custom dictionary support, and selection and caret brush options).  WPF 4 also includes a bunch of support to enable you to take advantage of new Windows 7 features – including multi-touch and Windows 7 shell integration.

Silverlight 4 will launch this week as well.  You can watch my Silverlight 4 launch keynote streamed live Tuesday (April 13th) at 8am Pacific Time.  Silverlight 4 includes a ton of new capabilities – including a bunch for making it possible to build great business applications and out of the browser applications.  I’ll be doing a separate blog post later this week (once it is live on the web) that talks more about its capabilities.

Visual Studio 2010 now includes great tooling support for both WPF and Silverlight.  The new VS 2010 WPF and Silverlight designer makes it much easier to build client applications as well as build great line of business solutions, as well as integrate and bind with data.  Tooling support for Silverlight 4 with the final release of Visual Studio 2010 will be available when Silverlight 4 releases to the web this week.

SharePoint and Azure

Visual Studio 2010 now includes built-in support for building SharePoint applications.  You can now create, edit, build, and debug SharePoint applications directly within Visual Studio 2010.  You can also now use SharePoint with TFS 2010.

Support for creating Azure-hosted applications is also now included with VS 2010 – allowing you to build ASP.NET and WCF based applications and host them within the cloud.

Data Access

Data access has a lot of improvements coming to it with .NET 4.  Entity Framework 4 includes a ton of new features and capabilities – including support for model first and POCO development, default support for lazy loading, built-in support for pluralization/singularization of table/property names within the VS 2010 designer, full support for all the LINQ operators, the ability to optionally expose foreign keys on model objects (useful for some stateless web scenarios), disconnected API support to better handle N-Tier and stateless web scenarios, and T4 template customization support within VS 2010 to allow you to customize and automate how code is generated for you by the data designer. 

In addition to improvements with the Entity Framework, LINQ to SQL with .NET 4 also includes a bunch of nice improvements

WCF and Workflow

WCF includes a bunch of great new capabilities – including better REST, activation and configuration support.  WCF Data Services (formerly known as Astoria) and WCF RIA Services also now enable you to easily expose and work with data from remote clients.

Windows Workflow is now much faster, includes flowchart services, and now makes it easier to make custom services than before.  More details can be found here.

CLR and Core .NET Library Improvements

.NET 4 includes the new CLR 4 engine – which includes a lot of nice performance and feature improvements.  CLR 4 engine now runs side-by-side in-process with older versions of the CLR – allowing you to use two different versions of .NET within the same process.  It also includes improved COM interop support. 

The .NET 4 base class libraries (BCL) include a bunch of nice additions and refinements.  In particular, the .NET 4 BCL now includes new parallel programming support that makes it much easier to build applications that take advantage of multiple CPUs and cores on a computer.  This work dove-tails nicely with the new VS 2010 parallel debugger (making it much easier to debug parallel applications), as well as the new F# functional language support now included in the VS 2010 IDE.  .NET 4 also now also has the Dynamic Language Runtime (DLR) library built-in – which makes it easier to use dynamic language functionality with .NET.  MEF – a really cool library that enables rich extensibility – is also now built-into .NET 4 and included as part of the base class libraries. 

.NET 4 Client Profile

The download size of the .NET 4 redist is now much smaller than it was before (the x86 full .NET 4 package is about 36MB).  We also now have a .NET 4 Client Profile package which is a pure sub-set of the full .NET that can be used to streamline client application installs.

Visual C++

VS 2010 includes a bunch of great improvements for C++ development.  This includes better C++ Intellisense support, MSBuild support for projects, improved parallel debugging and profiler support, MFC improvements, and a number of language features and compiler optimizations.

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