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Inside Visual Studio 2008

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Dino writes the ASP.NET-2-The-Max newsletter for DDJ. He can be contacted at weblogs.asp.net/despos/.

Since the release of the .NET Framework 1.0, Microsoft has committed to a made-to-measure programming environment with each new version of its managed framework. But for a number of reasons, this tradition was interrupted last year when .NET Framework 3.0 made its debut without a new version of Visual Studio. This year, however, .NET 3.5 comes out with a new programming environment—Visual Studio 2008.

Visual Studio is designed as a container environment that integrates the functionality of multiple visual designers for just about any supported type of application and component. This means you have ready-made templates for a variety of Windows and web application types, including Windows Forms, Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF), ASP.NET sites, and web services. In addition, Visual Studio 2008 offers ad hoc designers for creating workflows and Windows Communication Foundation (WCF) services. The characteristics of each output component are managed through projects, and in turn grouped in solution containers.

The true added value of Visual Studio—and perhaps the primary reason to consider upgrades—is the boost it gives to developer productivity. Dozens of wizards, smart and context-sensitive popup windows, effective debuggers, and visual designers are examples of facilities that may not necessarily make any code automatically smarter, but still help you focus on key points—skimming over chores, repetitive tasks, and overzealous procedures.

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