.NET 4.0/Visual Studio 2010 Beta 1 is out

Already two days old, but I didn't have time so far to try on my own. Today, I gave the new Visual Studio 2010 Beta1 a try. For a much longer list of features, see Jason Zander's announcement.

Installing is painless, you get a web-downloader or an ISO, and need to fetch around 1 GiB only, which is not too much, considering that it's VS Team Suite and the .NET Framework 4. One reboot required, due to Windows Installer 4.5. Tested on Vista x64 with SP1 installed.

The new GUI is okay-ish, but really not a dramatic difference to VS 2008, even though it is built on WPF. The C++ editor is now a bit closer to the C# editor, you get errors immediately in the editor window with red underlines, which is a real time saver. Overall, I'm not happy with the new Visual Studio though, as it looks like a merge of 3-4 different versions of VS into one. For some things, they use still the wizards from VS 2003, in other places, you have VS 2005 looks, some are 2010 obviously, and all in one package (for example, they still have two different properties widgets, one in WPF, one in Windows Forms ...). So this is not really good. Another small, but nevertheless annoying issue is that if you add a new item to a C++ solution, the list starts with a "Windows Form", then other unrelated items, before "C++ file (.cpp)" shows up. I mean, if I work on a C++ solution, most likely, I'll want to add a C++ source or header file, especially if I'm not using the unnative extensions.

I've already reported my share of bugs again (goddamn, the SSE code generation is as bad as it always was. I'm so close to buy a copy of Intel C++ ...), maybe they will fix some of those before the release. Ahh, and before I forget it, I could already observe a problem where IntelliSense could not lock the .sdf file, so symbol information was lacking (remember, they use SQL Server for symbol storage, which uses .sdf files, instead of the old .ncb ones). On the other hand, the C++ compiler gained a few C++0x features in the front end, which are always good news. First of all, auto support is in, and this one is a major time saver alone :)

We'll have to wait and see how they continue the work on VS, but for me it's a bit of good progress on one side (C++ frontend), but a suprisingly large lack of effort on other sides (consistency is worse than it is in VS 2008, and the C++ compiler backend is not improved either, at least not in the areas I care about). I guess it will take 6 more months until the release, so go ahead and report every problem you find now ;)

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