See link at the bottom of the post for information on how to download Microsoft Visual Studio 2010, or just go straight to the Microsoft Visual Studio site here.
The next major release of Microsoft’s Visual Studio development environment is apparently going to be developed with the front end GUI written in WPF (Windows Presentation Foundation). Much of Visual Studio will still probably be written in C++, there will be significant portions of it developed with C# and WPF. WPF as many of you may know is the new Windows Forms API that is set to supersede the current version that has been around since the .NET 1.0 framework was released. Although there are other existing fully fledged applications developed in WPF, one of which is Microsoft’s Expression Blend 2, Visual Studio 2010 is certainly going to be the largest application that makes use of the new WPF technology. WPF has attracted a lot of attention over the last year or so as it is based on a completely different structure to the more traditional Windows forms. Here is a run down of just a few of the features available to WPF developers:
- 2D and 3D support baked directly into WPF.
- New and more flexible structure for handling events (via ‘Routed Events’).
- All Form elements are vector based and so resize to the parent container without loss of quality.
- Many new layout controls for a much more flexible UI. Things like fluid layouts (similar to web applications) can be developed very easily).
- Separation of the UI design from the code behind. The UI is designed using a new language called XAML (pronounced ‘zammel’).
This means that you will have some cool IDE tools available in Visual Studio 2010 such as being able to resize the code window (zooming in and out) rather than having to select a specific pixel size for your fonts.
Also, the separation of design from the code that drives the application enables designers to create the UI separately, and then hand this over to the developer to code the functionality. This is the reason that Expression Blend was created for. It is especially aimed at designers rather than programmers so that they can design cool bleeding egde UI without ever having to look at any C# (or XAML for that matter) if they don’t wish to – they are free to focus on the graphic design of the UI.
In fact the projects in Visual Studio (as of Visual Studio 2008) and Expression Blend are identical and thus, interchangeable. So, a designer who creates an interface in Expression Blend can give it to a developer and open it straight into the Visual Studio IDE seamlessly – and vice versa.
Update: As per my comment response below you can download the latest build of Microsoft Visual Studio 2010 and test some of the new features. It is available as a Community Technology Preview (CTP) package, click here for more details and download information.