Without further adieu, Microsoft will release on Monday its Visual Studio 2010 software development system and the accompanying .Net Framework 4 platform, followed later in the week by the release of the Silverlight 4 rich Internet plug-in software.
The three products are upgrades to key Microsoft technologies and have been touted by the company for some time now. The Visual Studio 2010 platform is anchored by the Visual Studio IDE and also features application lifecycle management tools.
[ InfoWorld columnist Martin Heller recently wrote about making the switch to Visual Studio 2010. ]
"We've got a huge host of great productivity features, things like multiple monitor support," enabling developers to enter code on one monitor and view the design on another, said Sean McBreen, senior director of developer marketing at Microsoft.
Visual Studio 2010 is accompanied by .Net Framework 4. Among other highlights of Visual Studio 2010 is a new editor based on WPF (Windows Presentation Foundation), providing what Microsoft described as a more flexible, feature-rich environment.
"[Visual Studio 2010 is] completely redesigned, it's now built on top of WPF," said Gill Cleeren, a .Net architect at consulting and software development firm Ordina, which is a Microsoft business partner.
"It's a complete new interface that you're getting," said Cleeren, a beta user of Visual Studio 2010 and a leader of the Belgian Visual Studio User Group. He added the performance issues that had beset Visual Studio several months ago have been fixed.
Other features in the 2010 release include capabilities for SharePoint application development via dashboards, as well as support for Windows 7 multitouch and ribbon interfaces. Tools also are offered for building applications for the Windows Azure cloud computing platform.
An IntelliTrace capability for developers and testers enables reproduction of bugs, so they can be eliminated.
"What IntelliTrace brings is the ability to record a video of your application," said John Robbins, a Visual Studio 2010 beta tester at Microsoft partner Wintellect. IntelliTrace, he said, makes debugging much faster.
Version 2010 also includes support for Web development via ASP.Net Model View Controller. Integrated phone design surfaces are offered for building Windows Phone 7 applications.
Visual Studio 2010 includes the Professional, Premium, and Ultimate editions of the platform, as well as the new Visual Studio Test Professional 2010 tool for application testers.
"There's just all sorts of excitement around the testing tools," said Windows application developer Dave Zimmerman, administrator of the Minnesota Visual Studio User Group. Testing capabilities make it easier to automate test scripts for a larger variety of applications said Zimmerman, who manages projects at Microsoft partner Intertech.