Microsoft Visual Studio upgrade eyed

Extensibility, scalability, and modernization are key architectural themes for the Visual Studio 10 upgrade

Extensibility is a key focus for Microsoft in the planned "Visual Studio 10" upgrade to the company's software development environment, a blog post revealed this week.

The software development platform focuses on four main "pushes," according to a blog post this week by Jeffrey Schlimmer, a program manager at Microsoft. The blog reflects on a presentation delivered at the Visual Studio Extensibility Conference by Microsoft Principal Product Unit Manager Paramesh Vaidyanathan and Rico Mariani, Microsoft architect, in Redmond, Wash. this week.

The four pushes include experience, in which Visual Studio is intended to become the developer's favorite application; customer focus, with an emphasis on small-to-medium business developers; platform, offering the latest technologies; and architecture, to improve infrastructure.

A Microsoft representative confirmed that Visual Studio 10 is the codename for the next version of Visual Studio but said the company has not announced a release date. The company also plans a new version of Visual Studio Team System for application lifecycle management dubbed "Rosario."

Microsoft released the Visual Studio 2008 upgrade last November.

Extensibility capabilities in Visual Studio 10 include a new text editor based on Microsoft's WPF (Windows Presentation Foundation) technology, as well Microsoft Extensibility Framework capabilities and support for multiple languages.

Later plans for the platform call for macros and other end user extensibility via VSTA (Visual Studio Tools for Applications) as well as more add-ins that can be built in managed code. A common project system is anticipated as well as richer types and protocols for discovery, activation, and manipulation. A visualization model also is on the agenda.

Modernization features in Visual Studio 10 include enabling a WPF-based look and feel of the shell. A full WPF shell is planned for later on, according to Schlimmer's blog. Other improvements slotted as happening later include extensive use of a parallel framework to utilize multicore hardware to boost Visual Studio responsiveness.

Scalability plans for Visual Studio 10 include improvements in Visual C++ performance and the elimination of quadratic algorithms in C# and Visual Basic project systems. A new editor is planned also. Subsequent to Visual Studio 10, Microsoft is eying a common/scalable project system and common low-level storage in language services.

Visual Studio 10 also uses Live Search and integrates community ratings. Developers with multiple machines can synchronize using Live ID/Mesh technology. Instant Messaging at some point will become an integral part of the small team development experience in Visual Studio, according to Schlimmer.

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