Big Month for MS Development Technos

November 14, 2007

During his keynotes at TechEd 2007 in Barcelona last week,   S. Somasegar, (President, Developer Division @ Microsoft), announced the upcoming release of Visual Studio 2008 and .NET Framework 3.5; new licensing rules for Visual Studio partners; Popfly Explorer; CTP for the Microsoft Sync Framework and Software & Services Blueprints will arrive soon….



Countdown to "2008 Global Launch Wave" – Vista Gadget available

July 31, 2007

Get this gadget for Vista Sidebar...

Download here

VS 2008 Code Editing Improvements

July 29, 2007

from Scott Guthrie’s blog

I’ve blogged in the past about some of the text editor improvements in VS 2008 that have been made for JavaScript intellisense and CSS style intellisense.

Recently I was looking over the shoulder of someone writing some code, and saw them using some other new text editing features that I hadn’t seen before (“wait – how did you just do that?”).

Below is a non-exhaustive list of a few new code editing improvements I’ve learned about this week.  I’m know there are many more I don’t know about yet – but I thought these few were worth sharing now:

Transparent Intellisense Mode

One of the things I sometimes find annoying with intellisense in VS 2005 is that the intellisense drop-down obscures the code that is behind it when it pops-up:

With VS 2005 I often find myself needing to escape out of intellisense in order to better see the code around where I’m working, and then go back and complete what I was doing.  This sometimes ends up disturbing my train of thought and typing workflow. 

VS 2008 provides a nice new feature that allows you to quickly make the intellisense drop-down list semi-transparent.  Just hold down the “Ctrl” key while the intellisense drop-down is visible and you’ll be able to switch it into a semi-transparent mode that enables you to quickly look at the code underneath without having to escape out of intellisense:

When you release the “Ctrl” key, the editor will switch back to the normal intellisense view and you can continue typing where you were in the Intellisense window.

This feature works with all language (VB, C#, and JavaScript).  It also works with HTML, XAML and XML based markup.

VB Intellisense Filtering

The VB team has made some nice improvements to intellisense that make it much easier to navigate through APIs. 

Intellisense completion now automatically filters the member list available as you type to help you better pinpoint the API you are looking for.  For example, if in an ASP.NET code-behind page you type “R” it will show the full list of types and members available (with the selection starting in the “R” list):

When you type the second character of what you are looking for (in this case “e”), VB will automatically filter to only show those types that start with “Re” and highlight the most likely option:

When you type the “s” it filters the list even further:

When you type “p” it filters down to just the one option available:

I find this cleaner and more intuitive than the previous model that always showed everything in the drop-down.

VB LINQ Intellisense

I’ve done several posts in the past about LINQ and LINQ to SQL.  Both VB and C# obviously have full support for LINQ and LINQ to SQL.  I think the VB team in particular has done some nice work to provide nice intellisense hints to help guide users when writing LINQ statements in the editor.

For example, assuming we have a LINQ to SQL data model like the one I built in Part 2 of my LINQ to SQL series, I could use the VB code editor to easily work with it.  Notice below how VB automatically provides a tooltip that helps guide me through writing the LINQ query syntax:

I can then start writing my query expression and the VB intellisense will guide me through creating it:

The above expression retrieves three column values from the database and creates a new anonymous type that I can then loop over to retrieve and work on the data:


Organize C# Using Statements

The C# editor has added some great intellisense improvements as well.  Some of the biggest obviously include language intellisense and refactoring support for the new language features (Lambdas, Extension Methods, Query Syntax, Anonymous Types, etc).  Just like in our VB example above, C# supports type inference and intellisense completion of anonymous types:

One of the small, but nice, new features I recently noticed in VS 2008 is support for better organizing using statements in C#.  You can now select a list of using statements, right-click, and then pull up the “Organize Usings” sub-menu:

You can use this to alphabetically sort your namespaces (one of my pet peeves), and optionally use the ‘Remove Unused Usings” command to remove un-necessary namespace declarations from the file:

When you use this command the editor will analyze what types you are using in your code file, and automatically remove those namespaces that are declared but not needed to support them.  A small but handy little feature.

hiiiihaa, VS 2008 and .NET 3.5 Beta 2 available for download

July 29, 2007

Downloads are available here

Download for the smaller VS 2008 Express Editions here


from Scott Guthrie’s blog, here are the main list of improvements:

Quick Tour of Some of the New Features for Web Development

Over the last few months I’ve written several blog posts that discuss some of the new improvements in this release.  Below is a quick summary list of several of them that I have already published.  This list is by no means exhaustive – there are a lot more things I haven’t had a chance to blog about yet (stay tuned for more posts!):

VS 2008 Multi-Targeting Support

VS 2008 enables you to build applications that target multiple versions of the .NET Framework.  You can learn more about how this works from my blog post here:

VS 2008 Web Designer and CSS Support

VS 2008 includes a significantly improved HTML web designer.  This delivers support for split-view editing, nested master pages, and great CSS integration.  Below are two articles I’ve written that discuss this more:

ASP.NET also has a new <asp:ListView> control that I’ll be blogging about in the near future.  It delivers very flexible support for data UI scenarios, and allows full customization of the markup emitted.  It works nicely with the new CSS support in VS 2008.

ASP.NET AJAX and JavaScript Support

.NET 3.5 has ASP.NET AJAX built-in (and adds new features like UpdatePanel support with WebParts, WCF support for JSON, and a number of bug fixes and performance improvements).  VS 2008 also has great support for integrating JavaScript and AJAX into your applications:

I will be doing a blog post in the next few days that talks more about some of the ASP.NET AJAX specific improvements, as well as how to upgrade existing ASP.NET AJAX 1.0 applications to use them.

Language Improvements and LINQ

The new VB and C# compilers in VS 2008 deliver significant improvements to the languages.  Both add functional programming concepts that enable you to write cleaner, terser, and more expressive code.  These features also enable a new programming model we call LINQ (language integrated query) that makes querying and working with data a first-class programming concept with .NET. 

Below are some of the articles I’ve written that explore these new language features using C#:

Data Access Improvements with LINQ to SQL

LINQ to SQL is a built-in OR/M (object relational mapper) in .NET 3.5.  It enables you to model relational databases using a .NET object model.  You can then query the database using LINQ, as well as update/insert/delete data from it.  LINQ to SQL fully supports transactions, views, and stored procedures.  It also provides an easy way to integrate business logic and validation rules into your data model.  Below are some of the articles I’ve written that explore how to use it:

I’ll be adding several more articles to my series above in the weeks ahead.  I think you’ll find that LINQ to SQL makes it dramatically easier to build much cleaner data models, and write much cleaner data code.

Lots of other improvements

The list above is only a small set of the improvements coming.  For client development VS 2008 includes WPF designer and project support.  ClickOnce and WPF XBAPs now work with FireFox.  WinForms and WPF projects can also now use the ASP.NET Application Services (Membership, Roles, Profile) for roaming user data. Office development is much richer – including support for integrating with the Office 2007 ribbon.  WCF and Workflow projects and designers are included in VS 2008.  Unit testing support is now much faster and included in VS Professional (and no longer just VSTS).  Continuous Integration support is now built-in with TFS.  AJAX web testing (unit and load) is now supported in the VS Test SKU.  And there is much, much more…