New features of Visual Studio 2008
The following are important new features that are part of new Visual Studio 2008.
If you have Visual Studio 2005 and Visual Studio 2008 installed on the same computer, then when you first start Visual Studio 2008, you can migrate most of your settings from Visual Studio 2005.
Community and Help Menus:
The Community menu has been removed for Visual Studio 2008. The commands formerly known as Ask a Question and Check Question Status have been combined into a new command named MSDN Forums, which is on the Help menu.
General User Elements:
Several user interface (UI) elements have been updated. These include the following:
- IDE Navigator: An improved interface makes switching between items easier.
- Common dialog boxes: Visual Studio 2008 uses Windows standard dialog boxes instead of custom dialog boxes. This makes the navigation experience more consistent with that of Windows.
- You can now specify a custom font for IDE elements not identified individually in the Show settings for list in the Fonts and Colors, Environment, Options Dialog Box by using the new option Environment Font.
Web Application Projects:
The new Web application project model provides the same Web project semantics as the Visual Studio .NET 2003 Web project model. This includes a structure based on project files and a build model based on compiling all the code for a project into a single assembly.
FrontPage Server Extensions are no longer required.
Internet Information Services is no longer mandatory. Support for both IIS and the built-in ASP.NET Development Server is included.
The AJAX server-based and client-based programming models are supported by the following:
- Server controls that support server-based AJAX development. This includes the ScriptManager, UpdatePanel, UpdateProgress, and Timer controls.
- The Microsoft AJAX Library, which supports client-based, object-oriented development.
- Server classes that enable you to develop server controls that map to custom client components whose events and properties are set declaratively.
- Support for script globalization and localization.
Support for Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF) Applications:
Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF) applications have been added to Visual Studio 2008. There are four WPF project types:
- WPF Application (.xaml, .exe)
- WPF Browser Application (.exe, .xbap)
- WPF Custom Control Library (.dll)
- WPF User Control Library (.dll)
Support for Web Application Projects:
Web Application projects were included in Visual Studio 2008. The new Web Application project model provides the same Web Application project semantics as the Visual Studio .NET 2003 Web project model.
Multitargeting lets you target code to a specific .NET Framework version:
- .NET Framework 2.0, which was included with Visual Studio 2005.
- .NET Framework 3.0, which is included with Windows Vista.
- .NET Framework 3.5, which is included with Visual Studio 2008.
Enhanced ClickOnce Deployment:
ClickOnce deployment has the following new features:
- ClickOnce supports the deployment of WPF Web Browser Applications.
- ClickOnce gives ISVs the option to re-sign the application manifest with their customer's company name, application name, and deployment/support URL.
- You can build and deploy Visual Studio Tools for Office applications by using the Project Designer's Publish page or the Publish Wizard.
- ClickOnce supports manifest generation under User Access Control (UAC) on Windows Vista.
Updated Windows Installer Deployment:
Windows Installer deployment has been updated for:
- Installation on Windows Vista is smooth.
- Supports applications which are targeting new .NET Framework 3.0 and 3.5 versions.
CSS Design Tools:
Working with cascading style sheets (CSS) is enhanced in Visual Studio 2008 and easier than ever. Much of the work designing the layout and styling content can be done in Design view using the CSS Properties grid, the Apply Styles and Manage Styles panes, and the Direct Style Application tool.
IntelliSense has been improved and now supports JScript authoring and ASP.NET AJAX scripting. Client script that is included in a Web page by using <script> tags now has the benefit of IntelliSense, as do .js script files.
Integrated WPF Designer:
The WPF Designer combines real-time editing of XAML with an enhanced graphical design-time experience. The following features are new for the WPF Designer:
- SplitView lets you adjust objects in the graphical designer and immediately view the changes to the underlying XAML code.
- The Document Outline window lets you view and move through your XAML with full selection synchronization between the designer, the document outline, the XAML editor, and the Properties window.
- IntelliSense in the XAML editor enables rapid code entry.
- Grid lines can be added to grids in the designer to enable easy grid-based control placement.
- Snap lines let you easily align controls and text.
- Design-time extensibility supports design mode and property editors.
- The Object Relational Designer provided for creating and editing the LINQ to SQL objects that map between an application and a database.
- N-Tier support for typed datasets provides enhancements to the Dataset Designer that assist in separating TableAdapter code and typed dataset code into discrete projects.
- Hierarchical update capabilities have been incorporated into the Dataset Designer to enable saving data in multiple related tables.
- Local database caching incorporates a SQL Server Compact 3.5 database and Microsoft Synchronization Services for ADO.NET into an application and prepares the application to periodically synchronize the data with a remote database on a server.
- Microsoft SQL Server Compact 3.5 is a compact database that can be deployed on desktop computers, smart devices, and Tablet PCs.
Language-Integrated Query (LINQ):
Language-Integrated Query (LINQ) is a new set of features in Visual Studio 2008 that extend powerful query capabilities into the language syntax of C# and Visual Basic. Visual Studio 2008 includes LINQ provider assemblies that enable language-integrated querying of .NET Framework collections (LINQ to Objects), SQL Databases (LINQ to SQL), ADO.NET Datasets (LINQ to ADO.NET), and XML documents (LINQ to XML).
Client Application Services:
Client application services are new in the .NET Framework 3.5 and enable Windows-based applications to easily access the ASP.NET login, roles, and profile services. These services let you authenticate users and retrieve user roles and application settings from a shared server.
New Report Projects:
Visual Studio 2008 includes two new project templates for creating reporting applications.
Visual Studio 2008 introduces a Report Wizard, which guides you through the steps to create a basic report.
Expression Editor Enhancement:
The Expression Editor now provides sample expressions that you can use in report expressions.
The RSClientPrint control is now available when the ASP.NET ReportViewer control is configured for local processing.
The ReportViewer controls will now compress reports that are rendered or exported to the PDF format when they are configured for local processing.
Multiple Processor Capabilities:
MSBuild now recognizes when a system is using multiple processors, either multicore processors or multiple separate processors.
Build event logging has been upgraded to handle multi-processor builds.
Online help of Visual Studio 2008