Microsoft Teched EMEA 2008 Developers Summary – Visual Studio 2010 (pre-alpha)

The conference started with a great keynote presented by Jason Zander. He talked about some of the new tools under development at Microsoft, showing also a small teaser demo with Visual Studio 2010. The VS 2010 was also demoed by Karen Lui and Vishal Joshi which I also attended.

They barely announced Visual Studio 2008 at the last year’s Teched conference and recently brought out its SP1, but we find out that the next version of the tool called Visual Studio 2010 is already in production.

I am still (unfortunately) using VS 2005, not even switched to VS 2008, because of project compatibility issues. How should we technically handle all these new tools coming out after each other in such short timelines? Should we upgrade to VS 2008 or wait for VS 2010?

Well, the VS 2010 presentations made me look forward for its release. The main Start Page interface is WPF enabled so that it looks funkier now.

 

How does it make understanding the code easier?

A new feature of VS 2010 is the Architecture Explorer which goes from assembly to assembly all the way down to the base class library to trace all the references, how the code is architected. It then shows a graph of the application including all dependencies where you can highlight an object and its references or look into an assembly with its containing classes and their relations.

 

Another feature is the Generate sequence diagram by only right clicking on the class. This UML diagram will show the sequence of the classes’ methods and how they are called.

 

For testing purposes, the Test Activity Center is introduced which tracks the different test cases which can be run in a nice user interface, the user having the ability to pass or fail the test cases directly in this tool.

 

We all had the occasion when we were certain that we have done our jobs right but the tester comes and says about a new bug which he created for you. But for you it is a no repro bug, you cannot reproduce it locally. For this purpose, the Historical Debugger is introduced which records with video support captured in WMV how the tester runs the application so that the developer can repro the debugger and look at the state when the bug occurred. Using this Test Center, the tester can create a bug directly in TFS and link the debugger and video results to it. Pretty cool, ain’t it?

 

The next news is the brand new build editor with WPF. Devexpress is heavily working with Microsoft on the new Visual Studio 2010 by adding lots of visual effects plugins into the environment. Did I mention that I am a huge Devexpress fan?

  • Incorporate diagrams right inside the editor.

 

  • Quick search for finding properties, methods and classes.

 

  • Displaying call dependencies in a tooltip just by hovering over.

 

  • Method history showing the change history of the method. Who was first and who was last who edited the file?

 

  • Highlight references.
  • Document margin which is a scaled down version of the entire file on the right hand side.

 

  • Micro versioning to view the changes on hover of a change list.

 

  • Nice visual tooltip to show the method’s summary.

 

  • Refactoring is performed by right clicking which shows a nice context menu with the suggested refactor possibilities.
  • Split view for markup and design with instant update of markup or design when the other is changed.

How does it make web applications easier?

  • Design view: is support standard compliant with CSS 2.1; has support for the “lang” tags for internationalization; shows transparent borders; displays a visual experience for “inherit” styles; Acid 1 test (which tests how the page is going to be rendered) in VS 2010 for correct display of page in design view
  • Model view controller for ASP.NET
  • Test driven development made easier by refactoring and generating the necessary classes and methods only by hitting Control + .
  • The snippets collection is enlarged with numerous new markup snippets including around 200 for HTML tags and more for the ASP.NET tags.

 

New snippets are available for the register tag of the user controls, xhtml doctype declaration.

C# snippets are usable also in markup.

Full Intellisense for JScript.

JScript snippet for function summary, its parameters and the return statement.

 

Both Karen and Vishal have performed a small experiment to demonstrate the benefit of using the snippets by first writing code the old fashioned way and then by using the snippets. The time and keystrokes were recorded and the results were astonishing, using the snippets will surely save some valuable time and keystrokes.

 

  • Microsoft partnered with JQuery so that the JQuery javascript library is fully annotated and incorporated into Visual Studio with Intellisense support and Microsoft is providing 24h support including for JQuery.

 

  • Updated architecture for JScript Intellisense 2.0 for better performance.

 

  • The new config transforms make the deployment easier by generating configuration files specific for testing or production systems.

 

In these new configs, you can define configuration specific for production which is different from the locally used web.config (e.g. different connection string, delete #if debug statements, turn on the custom errors etc.). When deploying, the VS will automatically apply them and deploy the new transformed version of the configuration file to the destination server.

 

  • New Publish tab in the Solution Properties used for required deployment settings, e.g. IIS settings, which files to exclude, database settings to publish the database by packaging.

 

The new Publish Profiles can be used to save the settings in a profile and use it every time you want to publish without having to make the settings over and over again. You can create separate profiles for testing or production and then use it when publishing to that server.

 

Additionally, the One click publish directly in VS will make the publish quick and easy directly from the toolbar with the selected profile.

And finally, to try out all of these new stuff, Microsoft gives for the Teched devs hosting environment for free until March 2009.

 

So if you would excuse me, I will now go to create my new hosting account and play around with all of these cool new goodies.

Thanks for reading and tune it later for more!

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Referenced sessions:

  • KEY01 – Visual Studio 2010: Making your day easier by Jason Zander
  • TLA324 – The Joy of Writing Code in Visual Studio 2010 by Karen Liu
  • PDC307 – Microsoft Visual Studio 10: Web Development futures by Vishal Joshi

 

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