InfoWorld preview: Visual Studio 2010 Beta 2 impresses

A wealth of additions, refinements, and bug fixes has Microsoft's IDE pumped up and primed for March release

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ASP.Net MVC 2 is included in beta 2; this creates a Rails-like modular model-view-controller architecture for Web applications. One of the selling points of MVC is that it allows a team to divide up the work on a site in a natural way, giving the model and controller parts to programmers and the view parts to designers, for example.

Dynamic data complement ASP.Net and MVC quite nicely; it automatically uses a LINQ-to-SQL or ADO.Net Entity Framework data model to validate fields and to generate page templates for list and details views, as well as scaffolding to provide display, insert, delete, and edit capabilities for each table in the model. Again, this is a Rails-like facility.

ASP.Net now includes a chart control right out of the box, so there looks to be little need for most people to buy a third-party chart control. Of course, I said that about Microsoft's grid control a couple of years ago, and enhanced third-party grid controls continued to sell.

ASP.Net supports AJAX, but it's a separate download, which now includes the AJAX Control Toolkit. You can use the ASP.Net AJAX library with ASP.Net Web Forms, ASP.Net MVC, static HTML sites, and other Web technologies. The library now supports the top five browsers: IE, Firefox, Safari, Chrome, and Opera. One limitation of the current beta ASP.Net AJAX library is that you can't use Extender Wizard from the Visual Studio Designer when targeting ASP.Net 4; if you want that functionality, you have to target ASP.Net 3.5. You can add an ASP.Net AJAX toolbox to Visual Studio for Web projects manually.

Go live

The go-live license for Beta 2 of Visual Studio 2010 and the .Net Framework 4 means that you can use it for developing and deploying production applications. If you do so, you should register for beta-level support by e-mailing

Rico Mariani, the chief architect of Visual Studio, discusses the performance and reliability improvements in beta 2 in this video, and the history of Visual Studio 2010 in this blog post. There's a nice collection of download and resource links for Visual Studio 2010 and .Net Framework 4 Beta 2 on MSDN.

At this point, I'm trying to switch most of my current Visual Studio 2008 development projects to Visual Studio 2010. I'm not burning any bridges, but I don't expect to have to revert any of them to Visual Studio 2008.

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