Microsoft Sheds Light on Visual Studio 10

Microsoft has begun sharing some details on what the next version of Visual Studio will look like. According to Microsoft sources, the software giant will jazz up Visual Studio to deliver a more compact product with support for modern processes such as multi-core and parallel programming, enhanced WPF support, and support for Microsoft Live Mesh and instant messaging in the platform.

Microsoft is beginning to shed a little light on what we can expect to see in the next version of Visual Studio, which has thus far been referred to as Visual Studio 10 or VS10.

MJF has a post on it based on a blog entry from Jeffrey Schlimmer, a Microsoft engineer who attended the VSX Developer Conference, which ran Sept. 15-16 at Microsoft's Redmond, Wash., campus.

VSX stands for Visual Studio Extensibility and at the VSX Developer Conference, Paramesh Vaidyanathan, Principal Product Unit Manager, and Rico Mariani, Architect for the Visual Studio Platform team shared some of their ideas and long-term goals for Visual Studio.

Indeed, Schlimmer said according to the keynote by two of the Visual Studio team's thought leaders, VS10 has four primary themes or "pushes:" Experience -- making Visual Studio the developer's favorite application; Customer -- Focus on a specific customer's needs (for this release, the small-to-medium business developer); Platform -- Ride the latest platform technologies (for this release, the 2009 technologies); and Architecture: Take the first of many steps to improve the infrastructure.

The duo also broke things down as far as what features are expected to be in VS 10 and which ones are more likely wish-list items that will come "later."

Regarding architecture, VS10 will be more extensible VS10 will feature a new Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF) based text editor with fine-grained extensibility, Microsoft Extensibility Framework -- MEF, also known as Component Object Model (COM) for managed code, and new features to support multiple languages. In the "later" category under extensibility, Schlimmer said Visual Studio Tools for Applications (VSTA) will be used for macros and other end-user extensibility; more add-ins can be built in managed code; common project system; richer types and protocols for discovery, activation, and manipulation; synchronous extension and visualization model."

Moreover, Schlimmer said the Visual Studio team presenters said VS10 will be "frugal and scalable" in that it will have a smaller footprint and emphasis will be placed on large-to-medium solution development. Other features include MSBuild improvements in Visual C++ performance and scalability, support for the elimination of quadratic algorithms in C# and VB project systems, a new editor that improves scalability, and a smaller footprint than Visual Studio 2008.

And "later" the product will support lazy population of UI elements for solutions, feature a common/scalable project system, and have common low-level storage in language services, Schlimmer's post said.

The VS10 release also will be more "modern" in that it will provide greater support for WPF, as well as for multiple monitors and multiple cores. Developers will be able to take advantage of a more modular WPF-based look and feel of the shell. And "later" the product will feature support for the full WPF shell, with WPF in all new feature areas, providing new and interesting views on code. There also will be support for extensive use of parallel framework to effectively utilize multi-core hardware to improve VS responsiveness, Schlimmer said

Meanwhile, with VS10, the help system will use Live Search and integrate community ratings. And developers with multiple machines can synchronize using Live ID/Mesh. And later, the VS10 product will, like IBM's Jazz collaborative development environment, support instant messaging as an integral part of the small team development experience, with multi-user editing of shared source, Schlimmer said.

Microsoft gave no indication of when VS10 would become available.