Visual Studio 2008 Ships

Code-named Orcas, Visual Studio 2008 contains more than 250 new features and significant enhancements to enable developers of all levels.

Microsoft Nov. 19 released to manufacturing its Visual Studio 2008 and the .Net Framework 3.5.

The Redmond, Wash., software giant released the latest version of its development toolset on time, two years after delivering the previous version of the technology, Visual Studio 2005. The technology is available to MSDN subscribers.

Company officials said Visual Studio 2008, code-named Orcas, contains more than 250 new features and delivers significant enhancements in every edition, including Visual Studio Express and Visual Studio Team System, to enable developers of all levels—from hobbyists to enterprise development teams—to build applications. The new development platform provides a consistent solution for developing applications for the latest platforms, including the Web, Windows Vista, Windows Server 2008, the 2007 Office system and more, the company said.

In the Orcas release, Microsoft has made Web development easier with new support for Web server communication techniques for AJAX/JSON (Asynchronous JavaScript and XML and JavaScript Object Notation) enabled Web sites. Also, new ASP.Net controls allow for better page management and templates, and WCF (Windows Communication Foundation) delivers native support for RSS and REST (Representational State Transfer).


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Dino Chiesa, Microsofts director of marketing for .Net, said Microsofts push to improve Web development reflects the momentum around Web 2.0 and the companys investments in its infrastructure to support Web 2.0 applications.

.Net Framework 3.5 also delivers several new features, including capabilities for Web 2.0, SOA (service-oriented architecture) and software-plus-services-based applications, the company said.

A new programming model simplifies building workflow-enabled services by using Windows Communication Foundation and Windows Workflow Foundation. This allows .Net Framework developers to build business logic for a service using Windows Workflow Foundation and expose messaging from that service using WCF.

Microsoft also has placed additional Web services protocol support in WCF, including Web Services Atomic Transaction (WS-AtomicTransaction) 1.1, WS-ReliableMessaging 1.1, WS-SecureConversation and Web Services Coordination (WS-Coordination) 1.1.

"Its incredible the depth and breadth of the platform we already had, and weve taken that and made it more useful for the Web 2.0 space," said John Shewchuck, a Microsoft distinguished engineer in the companys Connected Systems Division. "Were really taking all of .Net and making it the best-in-breed tool for targeting Web 2.0 applications."

Visual Studio 2008 also features multitargeting support.

"VS 2008 enables you to build applications that target multiple versions of the .Net Framework," said Scott Guthrie, a general manager in the Microsoft Developer Division, in a blog post on Nov. 19. "This means you can use VS 2008 to open, edit and build existing .NET 2.0 and ASP.NET 2.0 applications (including ASP.NET 2.0 applications using ASP.NET AJAX 1.0), and continue to deploy these application on .NET 2.0 machines.

Guthrie also noted that Microsoft plans to add some plug-ins for Visual Studio 2008, including one supporting the companys Silverlight cross-browser, cross-platform for creating rich Internet applications.

"Two popular add-ins to Visual Studio are not yet available to download for the final VS 2008 release," Guthrie said. "These are the Silverlight 1.1 Tools Alpha for Visual Studio and the Web Deployment Project add-in for Visual Studio. Our hope is to post updates to both of them to work with the final VS 2008 release in the next two weeks."

Meanwhile, S. "Soma" Somasegar, corporate vice president of Microsofts Developer Division, in a blog post on Nov. 19, said: "When I look back over the last few years at how we were able to ship these two products, I truly believe that both our customer input and our renewed focus on intentional engineering allowed us to release a great product in the timeline that we originally set out to hit. We adopted Team Foundation Server to manage this release and to collect data and enable reporting on our progress. It was incredibly helpful to me personally to be able to view our progress in real time."


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