First look: Visual Studio 2010 Beta 1 teases

Microsoft's IDE reveals a cleaner look, IntelliSense and Designer improvements, even parallel programming support, but some promises still achingly unfulfilled

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I'm not going to cover Team System or Team Foundation Server in this first look, but I want to mention the Architecture Explorer, a client-side feature of Team System. Microsoft has gotten serious about UML modeling; in the last two screen shots of the highlights sidebar I demonstrate class exploration and the automatic generation of architecture diagrams, which are just two of the many features useful to programmers as well as architects.

Beta bugs and omissions

It wouldn't be fair to completely gloss over the deficiencies of Visual Studio 2010 just because it's still a beta. I want you to know what to expect -- and what not to expect -- should you download and test the beta 1 product.

First of all, don't waste any time looking for the MSDN library for this beta. There is no local version; it's entirely online. I don't actually mind this; if my Internet connection is down, I can't do most of what constitutes my work for long.

ASP.Net MVC is not yet supported; neither are smart devices nor the .Net Micro Framework. You can download Azure, Silverlight, IronRuby, and IronPython support.

If you're installing on Windows 7, as I did, the SQL Server installer built into the Visual Studio installer will fail. What you can do is to download and install SQL Server 2008 with SP1 separately. You can safely install either or both of the Express and Developer versions of the database.

I personally have encountered only one bug in this beta that has yet to be resolved. For some reason, after I installed the Silverlight 2.0 runtime and SDK, I could not debug the Silverlight projects. I'm not sure if this is a 64-bit issue or an installation problem; I expect that the problem will go away at some point, probably when I install a newer version of the Silverlight tools. [ Update: Installing the SL3 Beta developer runtime fixed the problem I was having with Silverlight debugging. It’s available at http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkID=143433. ]

In any case, I'm looking forward to the incremental drops of add-ons to the Visual Studio 2010 beta and to the next beta. It's good now; I expect that it's going to be great by the time it ships.

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