Monday, November 19, 2007

Visual Studio 2008 and .NET Framework 3.5 shipped!

Soma Somasegar announced earlier this morning that Visual Studio 2008 and .NET Framework 3.5 shipped!.  Visual Studio is now available for download from the MSDN subscription site.  It is also available for download as a 90-day free trial edition of Visual Studio 2008 Team Suite.  The 90-day trial edition of Visual Studio 2008 Professional is not available yet but will be available next week.  You can also download the free Visual Studio 2008 Express edition.

.NET Framework 3.5

The .NET Framework 3.5 is more of an incremental improvement than the sweeping change that .NET 2.0 was.  At least as far as the framework and runtime are concerned.  The main theme of .NET 3.5 was to avoid breaking changes.  In fact they marked the base code with "red and green bits" to indicate what they were allowed to change.  

VS 2008 Multi-Targeting Support

While there is not a new runtime in .NET 3.5 framework, it does have the new C# 3.0 and Visual Basic 9.0 compilers.  Because there is not a new runtime in 3.0 and 3.5, VS studio is now able to target the .NET 2.0, 3.0, and 3.5 frameworks. 

VS 2008 Web Designer and CSS Support

VS 2008 now includes the same web designer as Expression Web.  This new designer now includes a "split view editing" mode that shows both the HTML source code and "WYSIWYG" designer mode at the same time.  The new designer is the feature that I have been looking forward the most.  The designer not perfect but it is much better than the previous designer.  It includes a CSS style manager that shows all of the stylesheets you currently editing.  The CSS properties window is much like Firefox's Firebug except in the IDE instead of the browser.  It would be nice if the Internet Explorer team would update the Developer Toolbar to have the same features such as a better display of why a css class is getting overwritten (I don't find the applied styles feature nearly as useful Firebug).

Language Improvements and LINQ

VS 2008 provides some great syntactic sugar over the previous C# version.  In fact because there is not a new runtime technically all of the new language features are syntactic sugar including the LINQ syntax.  However the new language features are very powerful, expressive, and are probably the biggest change out of all the changes that were made.

Here are some of the new language features that Scott Gu has blogged about:

  • Automatic Properties: provides a default implement of get and set
  • Object Initializers: almost like having methods with named parameters
  • Collection Initilizers: save keystrokes by avoiding multiple Add statements
  • Extension Methods: add new methods to any class without inheritance
  • Lambda Expressions: very compact, functional programming syntax 
  • Anonymous Types: introduces the strongly typed "var" keyword (think JavaScript)

Congratulations to the Microsoft Visual Studio team on a job well done!!!  I guess I'll get to congratulate you again when it officially launches in February.