Microsoft today released the latest version of its Visual Studio, Visual Studio Express and Visual Web Developer products. Its called Visual Studio 2010 Service Pack 1 (SP1). We at Chalaki have evaluated this product and very happy with the new enhancements. I am listing all the new features available for a web developer in this release.
IIS Express support
Visual Studio 2010 SP1 enables you to use the Internet Information Services (IIS) 7.5 Express as the local hosting server for the website and Web Application Projects. IIS 7 Express can run with minimal resources and
supports ASP.NET 4.0. IIS 7.5 Express is not included in SP1, and you must download it separately.
How to Use
Simply right click on the project and choose menu item “Use IIS Express”.
It will ask for your confirmation to use IIS 7.5 express (as opposed to IIS installed on your development box).
Click Yes and it will show you the confirmation along with the IIS Express 7.5 port number that will be used to run this application on your localhost.
SQL Server CE 4 support
Visual Studio 2010 SP1 enables you to manage Microsoft SQL Server Compact 4.0 SDF files in Solution Explorer and in Server Explorer in the context of web projects. Additionally, Visual Studio 2010 SP1 enables you to use SQL Server Compact 4.0 together with the Microsoft ASP.NET Web Forms in a SQL data source control. Read my posts to know more about this topic.
This new syntax is used by ASP.NET Web Pages and by ASP.NET MVC 3. Enhancements were made to the web project systems and to the HTML editor to support the new Razor syntax.
More about this:
How to get Razor syntax support in Visual Studio 2010
Web Platform Installer integration
Support for the Microsoft Web Platform Installer (PI) is added in Visual Studio 2010 SP1 as follows:
- A new toolbar is added that allows for quick access to start the latest version of Web PI. Additionally, if the Web PI was not installed, it is downloaded first.
- When you open web projects that use IIS 7.5 Express, SQL Server Compact 4.0, or ASP.NET Razor syntax, a dialog box appears that offers to download and install these components by using Web PI if the components are not already installed.
All of the new technology components that are added in Visual Studio 2010 SP1 can be bin-deployed together with an application to a web server at the hosting company. For example the Razor applications, SQL Server Compact 4.0 applications need additiobnal DLLs that can be packaged from your developer machine and deployed on the production servers.
Once you deploy these, you can use the components even when you deploy the application to a server on which those components are not installed. A new dialog box is added in Visual Studio 2010 SP1 that makes it easier to add these deployable dependencies to the web project. To access the dialog box, right-click the project in Solution Explorer, and then select Add Deployable Dependencies. The following components are supported:
- ASP.NET Web Pages that use Razor Syntax
- SQL Server Compact 4.0
- ASP.NET MVC 3
Once you choose Razor and SQL Server CE and click OK, a new folder _bin_deployableAssemblies will be created under your project. This _bin_deployableAssemblies folder contains all the needed DLLs in a hierarchical tree structure.
For more information, visit the following blogs:
HTML5 and CSS3 support
Preliminary support is added for HTML5 to the HTML editor so that you can obtain IntelliSense and validation for HTML elements and attributes. More info here: HTML5 & CSS3 in Visual Studio 2010 SP1
WCF RIA Services V1 SP1 included
Microsoft WCF RIA Services simplifies the traditional n-tier application pattern by bringing together the ASP.NET and Silverlight platforms. RIA Services provides a pattern to write application logic that runs on the mid-tier and controls access to data for queries, changes and custom operations. It also provides end-to-end support for common tasks such as data validation, authentication and roles by integrating with Silverlight components on the client and ASP.NET on the mid-tier.
The WCF RIA service is now localized in 10 different languages that are supported by Visual Studio 2010 SP1. An entity may now contain members of a complex type. For example, you can use the Customer.Address type where Customer is an entity, but Address is not an entity. An entity type may now be used in multiple DomainService classes in the same application. The restriction on how to use a given entity type inside at most one DomainService is lifted. A code generation extensibility point is now publicly available. It may be used for T4-based and other code-generators that are external to the product. Additionally, DataForm Add/Remove operations are now enabled for the EntitySet class and the EntityCollection class.
Other Technology Improvements
Help Viewer 1.1
To support developer productivity, a stand-alone application for viewing locally is installed in Visual Studio 2010 SP1. The following technology improvements are added in the new local Help viewer:
- Quick access menu bar icons: Quickly access other high-usage technology improvements or tools. This includes Help Library Manager, Print, Options, and Synchronize topic to table of contents (TOC)
- Search locally installed content
- Search for matching strings within topic
- Console views (TOC, Index, Favorite, and Results from Search)
- Keyword Index topic list
- TOC view
- Search Results list view
- Shortcut menus
- Content window Print topic
- Options: Change display font size, number of topics in history, and which side the console view is displayed on
Silverlight 4 support
Microsoft Silverlight 4 Tools for Visual Studio 2010 is included in Visual Studio 2010 SP1. This adds support for targeting Silverlight 4 in the Silverlight designer and project system. This also provides support for the new Silverlight 4 technology improvements. This new technology includes working with implicit styles and Silverlight 4 Out-of-Browser (OOB) applications. You can automatically start and debug your OOB application from inside the IDE, specify XAP signing for trusted OOB applications, and set the OOB window characteristics.
Basic Unit Testing support for the .NET Framework 3.5
You can now have the functionality to test your applications that target the .NET Framework 3.5 In Visual Studio 2010 SP1
Overall the new SP1 version of Visual Studio 2010 is packed with great features to enable the developer to be very productive. My favorite is the IIS Express and SQL Server Compact Edition (CE) support. For the advanced developers the Razor language elements support is the highlight.