7 Dec

Boise Install Fest

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Here I sit in the Overland Park Theater having been made aware that Windows Live Writer will not initialize until it can actually connect to your blog. This means that you need to be online in order to install and use it the first time. All of that means that I am writing in MS Word. But I digress.

I want to thank Jason Mauer, the PacWest Microsoft Developer Evangelist who brought this event to all of us in Boise. This event wasn’t on the schedule for Microsoft list originally and Jason made this happen anyway.

In addition to giving away free copies of VS2008, there were some fun demos detailing new functionality in .Net 3.5 and VS itself. Jason referred to the 2008 release of Visual Studio as a “Spring cleaning release”, meaning that there are a lot of new, small improvements to both the frameworks and to the IDE. A lot of product improvement efforts were dropped into this release with less of a central theme to the release. That is good news for the most part; Lots of new widgets and not a huge learning curve for any one of them in particular.

Factoids of the Day

  • The next CLR to be released out of Redmond will be the “Core CLR”, which is the framework that will be built into Silver Light.
  • The upcoming Silver Light (SL) CLR will be able to create multiple instances of a process, each running in a separate CLR version. This is because once a SL app is released on SL 2.1, it must still work with version 3.0 of SL when that ships. Further, it must work on the same page as a SL 3.0 only application.
  • Some developers just have awesome jobs.
  • MVC and new AJAX controls are being released today. Nice. Thank you, Guthrie. You are the man. Seriously, the man.
  • Chris Brandsma can write 2 demos for 200 developers in 30 minutes or less while sitting next to me and being lightly heckled. Dude, you are a machine.

New Bits and Bobs

I am sure you have read these bullets before. You are a current alpha-geek, after all. That said, this is the list of things I noted as I watched the demos progress.

  • There is support in the IDE for multiple frameworks. You can develop, compile, and release in CLR 2.0., 3.0, and 3.5. You may even downgrade a project to see if it will compile in lower framework version so you can release to the lowest common denominator. VS even tracks the differences in the web.config structures between the different flavors of your ASP.Net web applications.
  • MS Ajax libraries for ASP.Net is built in instead of being a downloadable extension to ASP.Net and VS. There are differences with the MS Ajax versions.
  • Get this: The AJAX controls included in the VS AJAX distribution are open source controls available on CodePlex. That’s right, MS packaged open source code into Visual Studio!
  • I keep trying to compile this MS Word file every time I add a bullet. Apparently I don’t have any unit tests for this document. CNTL+SHIFT+B in MS Word turns on bold.
  • Linq. Did I mention Linq?
  • ??
  • ASP.Net extensions for 3.5 are being released today including:
    • Parallel extensions
    • MVC framework
  • WTF is up with the fact that the “Add New Item” dialog does not sort alphabetically? That is seriously irritating.
  • Non-.Net Features. These things just give us a better HTML editor.
    • JavaScript type sensitive Intellisense and debugging support. That is money. I even get Intellisense on code that is linked via a <script> tag and included in my HTML file. Nice. Break points, locals value reassignment, etc.
    • CSS style manager. Seriously, I know this seems trivial. Right up until you have to go download some other app to help you do this visually. CSS can be a real pain and this new tool helps visualize your CSS at design time. Master pages now render fairly well in the Visual Editor such that you can see the effect of your CSS changes in a trickled down view.
  • There is a new plugin framework implemented directly in the framework allowing reflection based dynamic loading of plugin classes. I have coded several of these frameworks over the years and this is a fundamentally useful pattern. I will likely be looking more closely at this in future projects. This is cool.
  • VS 2008 Training Kit
    This is download you can pull from MS that takes you through all of the sweet new features. It has actual reference implementations on all sorts of new technologies.

4 thoughts on “Boise Install Fest

  1. If you convert a 2005 project the .sln files are not backwards compatible with vs2005, even if you set the framework to 2.0. So that info is wrong. The .csproj files are compatible, but with a warning. So maybe if you used a backup copy of the .sln file you could open a converted solution with vs2005.

    Chris did a better job with this presentation than the last time. He was better prepared and used canned code fragments, which saves a lot of time. There were no incredibly annoying video problems either.

  2. Paul is right, unfortunately. The VS 2008 .csproj files work fine in VS 2005, but the .sln files do not.

    The only difference between the 2008 and 2005 .sln file is seen below, in my basic conversion example. Because of this, there needs to be a 2008 specific .sln.

    Microsoft Visual Studio Solution File, Format Version 9.00
    # Visual Studio 2005

    Microsoft Visual Studio Solution File, Format Version 10.00
    # Visual Studio 2008

    The differences between the .csproj files will be ignored in VS 2005.

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