I have talked in the past few weeks about the various pillars and features of Visual Studio 2010 and .NET Fx 4.
Today, I want to drill into one of the pillars a little bit more. We want to make sure that Visual Studio is your favorite application to use – as part of “Inspiring Developer Delight”. To that end, we are working on features that target code-focused development. Here are a couple of features that illustrate the kinds of things we are doing.
Navigating through code can be a pain point. One of the things that we want to simplify is for you to be able to do a quick search to find what you need that is supported across all our major languages. As you type in what you want to search for in the quick search dialog box, the results get automatically filtered.
We also want to make it easier for you to do consume-first development with a feature we call “generate from usage”. This feature gives you the ability to generate a type, constructor, method, or property by inferring it’s usage in code. Basically, it allows you to just think about what you want your program to do and the IDE will generate the building blocks you need around you.
As much as we are building a great set of features out of the box for code focused development, we know that there will always be more that can be done to help out productivity. Developers do want to add additional functionality or customizations to make them more productive and effective. We are investing heavily on modernizing our editor and IDE to support better extensibility that allows the community and third parties to extend and customize their VS experience in a much easier way than ever before. We have replaced the editor of Visual Studio with a WPF version that is built on the Managed Extensibility Framework (MEF) and .NET Framework 4.0. The extensibility model of the editor allows you to build rich syntax highlighting that includes multiple font faces and font heights, draw WPF visuals on the editor surface, add data to or customize the presentation of IntelliSense features, and create scenarios where you view only a part of a buffer or aggregate code from several buffers into a new view over the code. These extensions can be installed simply by copying a .dll to a components folder and VS will automatically pick it up next time it is launched.
We have already talked about a lot of the Visual Studio Team System (VSTS) features, but one we haven’t talked about is the Test Lab Manager functionality in VSTS 2010. It makes building up and tearing down testing environments easier, and helps developers get past the dreaded “no repro” bugs. The functionality found in Test Lab Manger will significantly reduce the time it takes you to setup, tear down, and restore virtual environments to a clean state. It will allow testers to file rich bugs including links to environment checkpoints that developers can use to recreate complex multi-tiered environments – another step toward getting past the “no repro” bug. It will also improve build quality by automating virtual machine provisioning, build deployment, and build verification testing in an integrated fashion.
This week Channel 9 is doing a set of videos on these new Visual Studio 2010 features. Also, you can download virtual PC images of the Community Technology Preview for Visual Studio 2010 and see the product in action.