Visual Studio 2010, .NET 4 and Silverlight 4.0 have each graduated from betas to real products and Microsoft is justifiably pleased. Is the celebration just a rite of passage?
The release of Visual Studio and its related .NET technologies .NET 4 and Silverlight 4 - is something that many of us will greet with a yawn no matter how hard Microsoft tries to jazz up the event.
The reason isn't that it's all so boring - quite the reverse.
It's so important to many of us that we have been following the development via the public betas and while the launch is a rite of passage from beta to real product it is little more. There are no great surprises in the launch of such a well known product - about the only new features are that we can actually buy a copy and we can no longer put any bugs or strange behaviour down to the fact that it's a beta. We have the real thing now and can criticise it as a current product. It's a case of "what you see is what you get" or at least "what you see is what you can complain about". Any new features we might want are going to have to wait until at least the next service pack or the next full version.
So perhaps this is a moment to reflect back on what we have known about the release for some time. What exactly are we getting with a new version. The first thing to say is that Visual Studio isn't really an option - if you are doing .NET development then it's a question of which version you should buy (including the free Express versions). Your only choice is not to upgrade and to stick with the old environment.
Perhaps the single most significant change is that Visual Studio is now WPF-based. At last we have proof from Microsoft that WPF is a technology that it takes seriously - but why no WPF based Office or other applications?
Of course Visual Studio isn't just an IDE - it's a shop front for all the new technologies - Silverlight, ASP .NET MVC, Azure, Parallel programming and the big changes in languages. The real issue is not if Visual Studio is a good product but are the ancillary technologies good enough to tempt a non-user to start using them. From the Visual Studio point of view the technology tail wags the dog. Put more simply - if Microsoft sells us the .NET technology it sells us Visual Studio as part of the package.
The Visual Studio launch is just a party.
Visual Studio 2010 Book Reviews:
Introducing .NET 4.0: with Visual Studio 2010