Feeds

Get stuck in to Visual Studio 2008

LINQ big, better teamwork needed

HP ProLiant Gen8: Integrated lifecycle automation

Review Visual Studio is more than an integrated development environment. It is a strategic tool intended to promote the Microsoft platform.

As such, the latest version of this IDE - released to MSDN subscribers late last month and due for widespread availability next February - draws together several different themes. One is Windows Vista. This is the first release of Microsoft’s developer tools suite since the arrival of Vista more than a year ago, and is therefore the first truly Vista-ready edition.

Visual Studio 2008 adds designer support for three new frameworks released simultaneously with Vista in November 2006: Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF), Windows Communication Foundation (WCF) and Workflow Foundation (WF). These include two of the original “three pillars of Longhorn” touted by Bill Gates when he announced Vista - then codenamed Longhorn - even further back, in 2003.

Why has it taken Microsoft more than a year since the launch of Vista to deliver full developer support for the premier features of its latest operating system, whose features were unveiled four years ago?

It’s a good question, and one that exposes the split today that exists in Windows between the vision and the reality. According one view, WPF is the new graphical user interface (GUI) for Windows, replacing the old Win32 API, and WCF is the replacement for every communication API from DCOM to MSMQ.

On one level, it is easy to see how WPF improves on Win32. It scales nicely, it is designer-friendly, it runs both within and outside the browser, and it uses DirectX for rendering, enabling fast 2D and 3D graphics. In terms of tools, WPF - with the XAML language that defines a WPF GUI - is a bridge between Visual Studio and a companion product from Microsoft called Expression Blend.

Blend is a design tool for WPF, complete with an Adobe Flash-like timeline, and supports the same solution files used by Visual Studio. Designers and developers can work on the very same files, breaking the common cycle where an application is mocked up in Photoshop, then handed over to developers to implement in a different tool. Since WPF forms use a code-behind model similar to that in ASP.NET, there is a clean separation between code and design, though a determined designer could still break the code by deleting or renaming objects.

WPF designer

Get fancy with the XAML designer

Unfortunately - and here’s where reality kicks in - there are problems with WPF. It is part of .NET Framework 3.0, now updated to version 3.5 with the release of Visual Studio 2008, and although it is supported on Windows XP, deployment of the runtime is limited and the download is huge.

The Power of One eBook: Top reasons to choose HP BladeSystem

More from The Register

next story
HIDDEN packet sniffer spy tech in MILLIONS of iPhones, iPads – expert
Don't panic though – Apple's backdoor is not wide open to all, guru tells us
Apple fanbois SCREAM as update BRICKS their Macbook Airs
Ragegasm spills over as firmware upgrade kills machines
NO MORE ALL CAPS and other pleasures of Visual Studio 14
Unpicking a packed preview that breaks down ASP.NET
Captain Kirk sets phaser to SLAUGHTER after trying new Facebook app
William Shatner less-than-impressed by Zuck's celebrity-only app
Do YOU work at Microsoft? Um. Are you SURE about that?
Nokia and marketing types first to get the bullet, says report
Microsoft takes on Chromebook with low-cost Windows laptops
Redmond's chief salesman: We're taking 'hard' decisions
Cheer up, Nokia fans. It can start making mobes again in 18 months
The real winner of the Nokia sale is *drumroll* ... Nokia
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Reducing security risks from open source software
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.