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VS2008 – Impressions

July 30, 2007

So far, so good.  The latest build (Beta 2) of Visual Studio 2008 is running like a champ. 

Installation

The installation procedure went pretty smooth.  It was a bit annoying that Beta 2 couldn’t “upgrade” Beta 1 and required that it and all of it’s subcomponents be removed prior to install, but that’s the joys of “beta testing”.  The installation seemed to go a bit faster for Beta 2.

Look and Feel

The newly designed logos (finally stating 2008, though I’ll forever call it Orcas) seems to be the only real UI upgrade.  In addition, the new components, like LINQDataSource, now have Toolbox items.  Also, the Web Developer toolbar is now shown right out of the box—no need to hunt and turn it on.

One odd thing seems to be that, by default, it always wants to create a .NET 2.0 project, not a 3.5 project.  I haven’t determined yet if this is a bug or some setting I’ve mistakenly set. 

Also, thankfully, no wierd SQL version gotchas.  Good times.

LinqDataSource

Yeah, with my somewhat sick facination of LINQ, this was the one I was waiting for.  It’s amazing how easy it is to create a DataContext, drop a few tables on it, a few stored procedures for to create methods, and tie to to a GridView—all without leaving the GUI.  I did a little demo of it in our team training on Friday and it went over quite well.

The best part is that it’s readable—someone coming in after you, if you’ve designed your database properly, can read the LINQ object code without any issues.  For example, in my demo, I created a test table called Employees.  Simple enough.

<asp:LinqDataSource ID=”LinqDataSource1″ runat=”server”

ContextTypeName=”EmployeesDataContext” OrderBy=”JobTitle”

Select=”new (EmployeeId, Name, Salary, JobTitle)” TableName=”Employees”>

</asp:LinqDataSource>

You can see in the “Select” statement that rather than a standard SQL SELECT, it uses the new Employee { } syntax from LINQ.  The datasource also supports paging and sorting without any additional implementation.

Wish it Had’s

The one thing that I still wish it had was some sort of Refactoring for “Extract Skin”. In a recent project, I got into how powerful Skins could be on a web site, in complimenting CSS, but found I was always creating the skin in the web page, making sure it looked good, then copy/pasting/fixing the code in the actual .skin code page.  A bit of an annoyance—and maybe more of a cool suggestion for ReSharper, not VS.

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