Feeds

Get stuck in to Visual Studio 2008

LINQ big, better teamwork needed

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

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 Essential Guide to IT Transformation

More from The Register

next story
Secure microkernel that uses maths to be 'bug free' goes open source
Hacker-repelling, drone-protecting code will soon be yours to tweak as you see fit
NO MORE ALL CAPS and other pleasures of Visual Studio 14
Unpicking a packed preview that breaks down ASP.NET
KDE releases ice-cream coloured Plasma 5 just in time for summer
Melty but refreshing - popular rival to Mint's Cinnamon's still a work in progress
Leaked Windows Phone 8.1 Update specs tease details of Nokia's next mobes
New screen sizes, dual SIMs, voice over LTE, and more
Put down that Oracle database patch: It could cost $23,000 per CPU
On-by-default INMEMORY tech a boon for developers ... as long as they can afford it
Another day, another Firefox: Version 31 is upon us ALREADY
Web devs, Mozilla really wants you to like this one
Google shows off new Chrome OS look
Athena springs full-grown from Chromium project's head
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Application security programs and practises
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.
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.
Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable
Learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.