Update: Microsoft shows off new Visual Studio UI

The look and feel for Visual Studio 2010 will be based on Windows Presentation Foundation and .Net Framework 4.0

Microsoft showed on Tuesday morning the "modernized" look and feel for the planned Visual Studio 2010 software development environment.

The company detailed the UI effort at the VSLive conference in San Francisco. The look and feel will be based on Microsoft's Windows Presentation Foundation and .Net Framework 4.0 technologies, leveraging capabilities for rich text display, multiple Windows support and improved rendering of geometry.

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"The goal that we had with this work was to simplify the way the developer works with their projects, their source control, and things I work with everyday," said Jason Zander, general manager of Visual Studio for the Microsoft developer division. With Visual Studio 2010, Microsoft has improved the environment's editor. Also, plugins are featured to make it easier to work with source code, he said.

Developers will find it easier to organize products and source code. Advanced editor extensions make it simpler to provide data; references are offered for navigating source code, and advanced graphics are enabled, according to Microsoft.

The new look and feel will be offered in the first beta version of Visual Studio 2010; Microsoft has not yet disclosed the date of the beta release. There also is no date set yet for the Visual Studio 2010 general release, but it could arrive late this year based on previous, two-year release cycles for Visual Studio.

During his presentation, Zander also showed Visual Studio 2010 features, such as HTML snippets for directly marking HTML code without having to switch to a different tool, and multi-monitor support, enabling developers to see different data types on different monitors.

"We find that a lot of people would like to actually see multiple different data types simultaneously," such as source code, debugging, profiling, and testing data, Zander said.

An attendee was pleased with this feature. "It’s easier to keep three monitors with the different windows open than switch back and forth, back and forth. It just makes your job flow better," said Michael Lawrence, applications architect at Performant Financial.

Zander also detailed plans for the Visual Studio 2010 Team System application lifecycle management platform. A testing tool codenamed "Camano" is planned offering test case management. Team System also would get historical debugging as part of the developer track of the product suite; this capability records debugging events while the application is running. Developers can go back and forth and watch steps.

Also at the conference Tuesday, Microsoft announced a partnership through which Quest Software will provide a plugin so users of Microsoft's Visual Studio Team System application lifecycle management platform can work with Oracle database source code and schemas. With Quest's Oracle Database Schema Provider, developers using Oracle databases can be more productive writing database code, according to Microsoft.

The plugin will function with the planned Visual Studio 2010 Team System Development product. Previously, the capability to work with schemas only was offered in Visual Studio Team System for use with Microsoft's SQL Server.

"What the tool does is, as a database developer, it gives me the opportunity to do things like go up to an existing database that I'm already using in production and I can reverse-engineer the database back into a schema," Zander said. Developers could make changes to the schema, such as renaming columns.

The planned Visual Studio Team System platform also will add support for IBM DB2 database schemas, with DB2 support enabled by a Microsoft-IBM partnership.

A community technology preview has been released for Visual Studio 2010 Team System, which includes the Visual Studio 2010 IDE.

This story was updated on February 24, 2009

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