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Visual Studio 2010 - your chunky new friend dissected

Nice package, shame about the platform

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Silverlight shine

Installation requires the full IIS on the local machine, rather than the built-in web server used for ASP.NET debugging. Similarly, the Visual Studio 2010 RTM I had came with Silverlight 3.0, even though the much-improved Silverlight 4.0 is to be launched on April 13, with final code expected then or shortly after.

The third-party Dotfuscator tool bundled with Visual Studio is also worth mentioning. Dotfuscator was originally designed to obscure .NET code, which without obfuscation is easily decompiled, thus spilling the secrets of developers who have yet to sign up to the open source religion.

VS2010 dotfuscator

Dotfuscator now covers runtime analytics and application expiry

This remains a feature but the new Dotfuscator also has a bunch of other tricks. Runtime Intelligence Support instruments your code to support analytics for desktop applications so, with your users' consent, you can log how the application is used with the logs uploaded to a hosted portal or your own server. Other features include tamper detection and the ability to set an expiry date for trial or subscription applications.

On the web side, Visual Studio 2010 ships with ASP.NET MVC 2.0 alongside the older Web Forms framework. ASP.NET Model View Controller (MVC) is a lightweight framework that fits with modern web development patterns. It is more amenable to unit tests than web forms, and Visual Studio prompts you to create tests as you go using the built-in test framework. Web forms look dated now, and ASP.NET MVC looks increasingly important for Microsoft's web platform.

Another aspect of the web platform is RIA Services, part of Windows Communication Foundation, which simplify authentication and read-write data access in Silverlight or ASP.NET applications.

Overall this is an excellent release, despite a few rough edges and despite the extent of the changes seems equally as stable as earlier Visual Studio releases.

That said, in the context of the difficulties the company faces outside its desktop dominance - and even there Apple is making inroads - Visual Studio 2010 is not a game changer. Mobile development, for example, is missing completely - awaiting the arrival of Windows Phone 7 towards the end of the year. Microsoft's developer team is doing great work, but on a troubled platform. ®

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