The blogs are abuzz this morning after the first beta release of the VS2008 and .NET 3.5 SP1. Download it here.
In my opinion, this isn’t a service pack—this is a new version!
There are quite a few bug fixes (what you normally associate with a service pack), but also a huge list of new additions and improvements.
Traditionally our service packs address a range of issues found both through customer and partner feedback as well as our own internal testing. While this service pack holds true to that theme and delivers updates for these types of issues, it also builds on the tremendous value that Visual Studio 2008 and .NET Framework 3.5 deliver today and enables an improved developer experience by adding a number of additional components that cover a range of highly requested customer features. For example, the service pack is the first release for Visual Studio 2008 that delivers full support for SQL Server 2008 and the ADO.NET Entity Framework.
I’ve posted a few links at the end of the post to the more extensive sources right now, take a look and get ready for the plunge.
So, what am I most excited about?
- ADO.NET Entity Framework – I’m hoping that the “real” release motivates Oracle to develop provides for the entity framework and my dream of LINQ-esque connections to Oracle will be realized.
- ASP.NET Routing Engine – As the MVC framework gets closer to a production reality, it’s very motivating to see the underpinnings already in place.
- VS2008 Performance Improvements – Anything has to be an improvement. :(
- LINQ Debug Support – Very nice, love seeing the generated SQL right there at debug time.
There are also lots of updates to WCF and WPF. Hopefully this summer I’ll have more time to use these .NET 3.0 technologies and maybe be a bit more excited. ;)
Visual Studio 2008 GUI/Tools
The Web Developer Tools team has released a comprehensive list of designer bug fixes, IIS templates and modules, formatting changes, intellisense upgrades, and more on their blog.
MVC and URL Routing
Phil Haack details the effects of the URL routing changes on the MVC Preview releases as well as how it affects the upcoming Preview 3.
ScottGu, as always does an excellent job tying everything up together—designer, framework, and tooling.
Now, if ReSharper 4.0 would EVER get to RTW before we’re ready to VS2009, it’d be super!
In my daily check of the jetbrains.resharper.eap newsgroup, my hopes of a January release of 4.0 EAP continues to dwindle—I mean, there’s only a couple more days left in the month. I hit up the EAP section on JetBrains’ website and found that a 4.0 Roadmap was posted back on 8 January 08, but it’s lacking something kind of important.
Support for both Visual Studio 2005 and 2008
Don’t we have this now?
Comprehensive support for C# 3.0 language features, including:
- New code analysis, context actions and quick-fixes
- New refactorings (such as Convert to Extension Method, Convert to Automatic Property, Convert Anonymous Type to Named)
- Updated IntelliSense
Again, I thought 3.0 support (XAML, etc) was supported in 3.1. Automatic Property support will be really nice. Convert to Extension Method should be interesting. Does this mean full support for WCF, WF, and WPF?
Many more intelligence and productivity features
- Full set of refactorings available for VB.NET
- New quickfixes and context actions for XAML files
- Referenced assemblies are now taken into account in null-reference analysis thanks to external annotations. ReSharper is packaged with annotations for the .NET Framework assemblies
- Code Cleanup — a tool for ensuring compliance with code guidelines and enhancing code structure
- Complete Statement — a feature that will complete language constructs and get you ready to write the next statement
- Many other enhancements and new features throughout the product.
Code Cleanup looks appealing as does Complete Statement, though I’m wondering how processor intensive they’ll be (working up permutations, etc).
So, what’s missing?
There’s no mention of .NET 3.5 support beyond the extension methods and automatic properties.
Nothing about LINQ, Lambda expressions, true 64–bit client support (ReSharper is a 32–bit app right now—I can dream, can’t I?), or AJAX or CSS refactoring. Nothing talking about the newest .NET web development technologies like MVC.
I realize they can’t keep up to the SECOND with everything (though that does speak to a more worthwhile partnership between Microsoft and JetBrains for the end users like myself), but 2008’s been RTM since November and, quite honestly, I haven’t used ReSharper since. I spend too much time with the newer technologies that I found I was wasting time by fighting ReSharper. Does it annoy me? Hell yes. Am I looking for a replacement tool? Yeah, but CodeRush’s “pretty arrows” annoy the crap out of me, so I’m just using macros and built-in refactoring in VS2008.
So… JetBrains—where’s our full 3.5 support and when can we start beating the pavement with the bits?
UPDATE 30 January 2008: From the EAP newsgroup today:
While I was joking about MSDN Subscriber Downloads acting flaky this morning, after a bit of patience I found out why…
Visual Studio 2008 TS RTM
Visual Studio 2008 ACTUALLY made it out the door before Thanksgiving (okay, yes, I admit, I had my doubts)!
I’m truly pumped up about this… and remain so as the little download bar has oh so very slowly been progressing throughout the day.
45.9 KB/sec… on an OC-3 line running directly into our office. I started it around 9:00 AM, so its been 6 hours thus far… 6 hours remaining. I’ll need coffee for this one.
[Update: 20 Nov 2007– MSDN has added Team Suite, Professional, and the other flavors, both in Trial and full version (for subscribers) to the Top Subscribers downloads. Top Subscribers are high speed downloads powered by the Akamai Downloader. I started pulling down Professional for our other MSDN subscriber today and its screaming by at 900 KB/sec. Sweets.]
Visual Web Developer 2008 Express
.NET Framework 3.5 Redistributable
To go along with the tools above, the full 3.5 Framework has been released and made available both as a partial internet download and a full package. According to the description, this distribution includes:
Microsoft .NET Framework 3.5 contains many new features building incrementally upon .NET Framework 2.0 and 3.0, and includes .NET Framework 2.0 service pack 1 and .NET Framework 3.0 service pack 1.
None of the distribution sites mention the .vbs script that had to be ran with Beta 2 to “fix” multitargeting support in Visual Studio 2008–-perhaps that’s fixed.
It took me a bit to recover from the weekend of house construction, but I wanted to finish summarizing the GSA class from last week. The class ended on a few good highnotes—Workflow, Templates, Business Data Catalogs, and Security. We didn’t go into a lot of detail regarding Office connectivity, but it’s all there.
The biggest challenge I’ll have ahead of me is trying to recreate our current SPS 2003 site with MOSS. The basic “functionality” of a portal is still there, but hidden away being the Collaboration portal. With the Collaboration portal, you gain the Site Directory, front page, and other features back. The Publishing portal will be our next stop when we look at renovating CMS, but the architecture is extremely different (for the better, I hope).
Tip – List of valid TemplateId for WSS 3.0
When provisioning new templates, they each have Ids that are mysterious numbers like “101” that mean absolutely nothing if you’re not familiar with them. After no answers in the GSA book, I found a list online. It’s about half-way through this CodeProject post.
Further Reading – Managing using PowerShell
Everything we did managed through batch scripts, but being a PowerShell freak, I was interested in what I could do with PS to further enhance it. We didn’t cover it in class, but I found the following:
SPSolutions Commands Addin
The class, overall, was good. A bit difficult to grasp with so much information in so little time, but good none-the-less. What I’d really be interested in is a hardcore, coder version of the class. I recognize that the UI and wizards are great—and I can get a book to figure that out—but what all does the underlying architecture provide me without simply opening up the Object Browser and LOOKING. What are the cool techniques to get the most customization out of the product. Maybe eventually, once MOSS is highly available, these classes will become available.