Monday, February 25, 2008

Visual Studio 2008 is Here!

Hi Guys!
Its been so long after my last post. Actually was kind of busy with things. Anyways, One of the biggest software releases being talked about for the last few months, you guessed it right, Visual Studio 2008 is finally out in its RTM build. It was running in beta for quiet a few months and now is out with many new features as well as enhancements to the previous ones. The new version promises to make life of programmers easier while giving them more flexibility and functionality in working with the new features introduced in .NET Framework 3.0 as well as the new 3.5 "futurz". I will not get into much details about it here but here are the few things that i liked in it rightaway.

Multiple Framework Version Support : In Visual Studio 2008, You can specify in the project properties, which .NET framework version you wish to compile your application against. This is a very useful feature and gives you the flexibility to work with any version of .NET framework (Starting from 2.0) in the same IDE. You do not have to keep the VS 2005 IDE on your system along with it. When you select a different Framework version in the properties, the IDE reloads the project with settings that target that particular version of framework.
IDE and Language Enhancements : The IDE of Visual Studio 2008 is much more friendly then its previous one. Its quiet fast in loading and most of the glitches from the previous one have been removed. The overall look-and-feel of the IDE has been improved too. There are quiet a few tools that have been added to it. One that requires mention is the Object Relational Designer (O/R Designer) which simplifies the use of LINQ in Visual Studio Data Projects. It lets the developer, in real time, to design LINQ-TO-SQL classes using a visual interface. You can add Classes, Inheritance between them, properties, methods by dragging items from database explorer etc. Quiet a handy one.

A handy enhancement to language features to C#, which i personally use very much is the quick property definition syntax for simple property definitions. Earlier in Visual Studio 2005, while developing class libraries, we use to create a lot of properties to just access some private data member in a secured way. It was quiet cumbersome to write these. typically the code looks like this:

class Test
{
private int _testProp;
public int TestProp
{
get
{
return _testProp;
}
set
{
_testProp=value;
}
}
}

As you can see, nothing much is being done in this property except getting and setting the value. Imagine this being done for 10-15 private data members and you know what i am talking about. Now in Visual Studio 2008, the shortcut method for this code is:

public int test{get;set;}

Thats it! it will create a simple get and set kind of property. I simply love this feature.Apart from this there are many other features like the var keyword, which lets you implicitly define the type of a variable at compile time on the basis of value you assign to it, Object initializers, which lets you initialise an object by providing different values for its fields in curly braces just like you initialise primitive types, LAMBADA expressions which lets you create parameterized anonymous methods which can be used in place of an delegate object, partial method definations, anonymous types etc.

All these enhancements apply to Visual Basic 2008 also. For detailed information about these, refer to the .NET documentation.

There is much much more to tell about it. its a huge release, but due to lack of time,i will leave it here. In the End, i would like to say just one thing, Its worth upgrading to. :-)
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