Visual Studio, Ruby improvements slated

Microsoft and OMG hash out plans for functionality improvements in their respective products

In separate developments, Microsoft Windows platform developers and Ruby application builders both should gain functionality improvements with efforts afoot at Microsoft and the OMG (Object Management Group).

With the planned Visual Studio 2010 software development platform, Microsoft is emphasizing "code-focused development" investments and features, said S. "Soma" Somaseger, senior vice president of the Microsoft Developer Division, in a blog post on Friday evening.

Somasegar cited Highlight References as a code-focused development feature. "Highlight References is a simple but easy way to quickly understand a scoped piece of code and navigate to references," Somasegar said.

[ Microsoft also has mapped out application lifecycle management plans for the Visual Studio platform. ]

Another enhancement, Quick Search, offers a lightweight way to do increment searches, filter searches, and get search heuristics like substring, he said.

Visual Studio 2010 improves the call browser experience in C++ and features a call hierarchy tool for C# and Visual Basic. "These features let you easily navigate all callers and 'callees' of a method," said Somagar

Also, Visual Studio 2010 makes it easier to do "consume-first development," Somasegar said.

"Many features in Visual Studio, such as IntelliSense and Quick Info, work best when an API that a user is consuming is already defined," Somasegar said. "We recognize, though, there are times you need to code against an API that has yet to be defined completely.  For example, in test-driven development, we see the test-first pattern. So, in VS 2010, we’re making it easier to do consume-first development."

The consume-first mode for IntelliSense allows for toggling the commit behavior. Developers can hit Ctrl+Alt+Space to toggle on this mode. "In Visual Studio today, you may have had the experience of having the IDE auto-complete an identifier you didn't want because it didn't yet exist (think generic method return types.)," Somasegar said.

The Visual Studio 2010 platform is set to feature such capabilities as an editor based on the company's Windows Presentation Foundation technology and enablement for the Silverlight rich Internet application platform and the Windows 7 client OS. Based on previous two-year product cycles for Visual Studio, the 2010 release could arrive late next year.

In the Ruby realm, the Ruby CORBA Language Mapping proposal would provide a standard way for Ruby developers to use CORBA; they gain a standardized mapping to Ruby for CORBA to make Ruby programs that use CORBA portable amongst different Ruby implementations, OMG said. The proposal proves that CORBA is "alive and well," according to OMG. Developers need standardized mappings to CORBA for new languages such as Ruby, OMG said.

The proposal is being promoted by Remedy IT. "With the language mapping Ruby programmers can implement CORBA clients and servers with Ruby," said Johnny Willemsen, technical manager for Remedy IT and an OMG Platform member.

Remedy IT's R2CORBA enables these implementations. "When it was ready, we decided to standardize the language mapping through the OMG," Willemsen said. The OMG proposal is being recommended for adoption, with the final version slated to be available in June, he said.

"A formal adoption would make it possible for other CORBA vendors to also implement and deliver a Ruby language binding for their products. Developers will then be able to implement CORBA clients and servers with Ruby," Willemsen said.

OMG is seeking comments on the proposal.