Microsoft offers Visual Studio 2010 release candidate

Both the Visual Studio 2010 IDE and the accompanying .Net Framework 4 programming platform are being readied for a late-April launch

Microsoft has taken another step toward releasing its Visual Studio 2010 IDE and the accompanying .Net Framework 4 programming platform, offering a release candidate (RC) for the paired technologies on Monday.

The RC stage is considered the last step prior to a general release, with developers able to offer final feedback. Microsoft has scheduled the launch of Visual Studio 2010 and .Net Framework 4 for April 12, after having scrapped an initial March 22 launch date to work on performance issues found by beta testers.

[ InfoWorld previewed the second beta of Visual Studio 2010 and found it impressive. | Keep up with app dev issues and trends with InfoWorld's Fatal Exception blog. ]

The downloadable release candidate was offered to MSDN subscribers on Monday. Non-members can get it on Wednesday. Visual Studio 2010 features capabilities for developing applications for the Microsoft SharePoint collaboration platform, Windows 7, and the Windows Azure cloud platform; .Net Framework 4 offers features such as a reduction in size.

"Thank you for all the feedback you've sent our way so far," said S. Somasegar, senior vice president of the Microsoft developer division, in a blog post on Monday, "The goal of this RC is to get more feedback from you and ensure we've addressed the performance issues in the product.  We have made significant performance improvements specifically as it relates to loading solutions, typing, building and debugging."

Microsoft has received a lot of feedback on the Beta 2 release of Visual Studio 2010 and .Net Framework 4, said Jason Zander, general manager of the Microsoft developer division, in a Monday blog post.

In particular many of you pointed out areas of performance where we were not at parity with [Visual Studio 2008] and it was impacting your ability to adopt the product," Zander said.  "Some of those areas of feedback included general UI responsiveness (including painting, menus, remote desktop and VMs), editing (typing, scrolling, and Intellisense), designers (Silverlight and Windows Presentation Foundation in particular), improved memory usage, debugging (stepping, managed / native interop), build times, and solution/project load.

Since then, [Microsoft Technical Fellow Brian Harry] and I have been doing daily stand-up meetings with the team working through the feedback.  We've conducted several private[ [community technology previews] with people who reported issues in order to validate the direction of the work.  In December we made the hard call to extend the Beta 2 period to continue to drive improvements into the product," Zander said.

Microsoft also is working with third-party companies with Visual Studio add-ins, such as Resharper and CodeRush, to make sure the environment works well, Zander said.

Developers can report feedback on the RC.

In other software development-related happenings at Microsoft, the company and NBC this week are reporting that the Microsoft Silverlight plug-in technology for rich Internet applications will again be used for online Olympics video coverage this month at Use of Silverlight for the 2010 Vancouver winter games follows the use of Silverlight for the Beijing Olympics in 2008.

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