The entire blogosphere is buzzing over this release. I got to try it out for the first time last week while working though some of the hands-on labs at TechEd 2009 in Los Angeles. I was so engrossed in the lab content that I didn't pay it a lot of attention. BTW, Scott Hanselmann gave a great session entitled "Whirlwind Tour around .NET 4 (and Visual Studio) Beta 1 - check it out.

I decided to try it out this evening on a Windows Server 2008 VM, which had SQL Server 2005 installed. Everything went smoothly until after the first reboot when it bombed out. Then I remembered that there is a new Windows 4.5 Installer out so I downloaded that and tried again. Success! It only took about thirty minutes on a fairly fast machine.

VS 2010 Beta 1


I'm using VMWare Workstation, but if you are using Microsoft VMs then there is a really helpful video on Channel 9 which describes the download and installation of VS 2010 in depth. Either way, be sure to grab the installer first.

  * Visual Studio 2010 and .NET Framework 4 Beta 1Downloads

  * Visual Studio 2010 Product Information

What's in the works for the SharePoint Development IDE

Many months ago, the MVPs were invited to Redmond and shown the next generation of SharePoint development tools. Needless to say they were bound to a secrecy agreement and ever since have remained as tight-lipped as a duck's arse and that's watertight. So I was really dying to check out what SharePoint project templates might appear - unfortunately all I got was a blank box. However, it looks like the red-suspendered marketing folks have revealed some information on this in a VS 2010 marketing "overview" brochure (link at end of post). SharePoint goodies include:

"Project templates for list definitions, list instances, site definitions, workflows, event receivers, Business Data Catalog models, and content types"

So, it looks like the extensions are finally baked in where they belong. This is good news considering the the latest CTP of VSeWSS 1.3 has some problems with the 64-bit architecture.

"The feature and package designers in Visual Studio 2010 allow you to determine how your SharePoint application packages are assembled and deployed... without having to manually write the XML for the .wsp deployment packages."

Some further research revealed that much of this info was already out there if you knew where to look. So why were the SharePoint presenters at TechEd acting like they held the secrets of the universe? There was an announcement on some aspects of this last February on Somesegar's Blog - here you will find a link to a video interview with Reza Chitsaz, Senior Program Manager working on Office and Sharepoint tooling - this came out last November!

VS 2010 Beta 1


All hype aside, the new WPF-based IDE is really slick and I'm really looking forward to trying out some of the new Ajax 4.0 client controls :-)

The new SharePoint 2007 Marketing Website

VisualStudio2010_ProductOverview.pdf (1.03 mb)

Here are two great sources of free training material, one from Microsoft and the other from SharePoint consulting company Point8020.

1) Develop on SharePoint - from Microsoft

Develop on SharePoint


This is a SharePoint Developer portal site with the navigation based around the main topics of interest to developers, such as: Web Parts, Data Lists, Event Handlers Workflow, Silverlight, Page Navigation, Page Branding, Web Services, Custom Content Types and User Management.

This site has a really cool interface. However, with the browser back navigation button disabled, the custom "Go Back" navigation button that appears at the top of each display panel needs to be highlighted a little better.

Each of the topic panels presents a comprehensive set of resources including, virtual labs, webcasts, white papers and more.

2) Free SharePoint Developer Training - from Point8020

Free SharePoint Developer Training


Get 12 hours of free developer training webcasts from SharePoint Consultants, Point8020. I've watched just over an hour of this so far and am very impressed with the content and presentation. There are accompanying slide decks with each episode.

Module 1 - Developing Solutions on the SharePoint Platform

Module 2 - Web Parts

Module 3 - Page Navigation

Module 4 - Page Branding

Module 5 - Data Lists

Module 6 - Web Services

Module 7 - Event Handlers

Module 8
- Content Types and Site Columns

Module 9 - Workflow

Module 10 - User Management

Module 11 - Silverlight

Module 12 - Deployment

Integrate XAML into ASP.NET Website Rather than write a long, tedious project walkthrough, you can find several simple examples of Silverlight projects online. I started with a Calculator tutorial and got it working first time. This was an interesting tutorial as it showed how to integrate XAML into an existing ASP.NET website. However, the XAML for that was pretty verbose when all you need at this stage is to see how the pieces fit together. You can find a list of what I thought to be especially helpful resources at the end of this post.

Well, I've been trying to get my head around everything Silverlight since the last post. Although I had to force myself to keep an open mind about the whole thing, I'm very impressed with what I have found. When I say I had to keep an open mind, I think I need to explain where I'm coming from...

I'm a Developer-Designer. I like to use Visual Studio for everything if I can. Other times, I'll just open up Notepad2 and hack away. My Photoshop skills are pretty limited but I have a good eye and create all my own CSS designs. I know that few developers are artistically inclined and vice-versa for designers. I also know that there are many in both camps that have themselves convinced that they are either left or right-brained and settle for that. But that kind of dichotomised thinking is another story.

Expression Blend 2.5


The original byline for CodersBarn was going to be "Blurring the Border Between Developer and Designer". I though it was a bit long-winded plus I didn't want to be writing about CSS all the time. My point here is that someone like me is going to look at something like Silverlight with both the eye of the developer and the designer. So, if Microsoft can sell this to me, they have achieved something since I will be doubly critical!

XAML the new HTML?

For some time now we have been moving toward a declarative model. When I say this, I do not mean that manual coding goes out the window. In the case of Silverlight, XAML is used to create tags which can be programmed against. Designers can use Expression Blend and Design to create their artifacts and the XAML end result can be handed off to developers. Now, most people have heard this type of marketing hype ad-nauseum over the past year. So, here's what sold me:

Arguments against Silverlight

* It doesn't support the Scalable Vector Graphics standard... humbug! Microsoft intentionally avoided introducing proprietary technology into an existing standard and instead built upon it.

* Weaning designers away from Photoshop is a real hard sell... you can import vector graphics to Expression Blend quite easily. Check out John Galloway's post on this. I also opened a Photoshop PSD file in Expression Design without any hitches. Admitedly, the IDE is a bit clunky, but for a new product, that's by no means a show-stopper. Tools improve over time and now Microsoft are moving into an area previously dominated by Adobe. Who's your money on?

* Silverlight doesn't support Linux... more humbug! Microsoft has been working with the members of the Moonlight project to make the port to Linux.

* Several US states are attempting to extend the antitrust case against Microsoft for another five years based on the argument that they will use the next version of Windows to tilt the advantage away from Adobe Flash... best of luck to them I say. If it's an accepted and open standard, then anyone can develop tools for it. Open is open. The same humbug is going on in Europe; if it's not fox hunting it's Microsoft season.

Arguments for Silverlight

Microsoft has effectively delivered a one-two-three punch winning combination against their rivals:

* XAML is text-based, thus it is searchable. Bye-bye Flash.

* The new integration between developers and designers can only foster more creativity. It will probably be a case of gradual but inevitable adoption because the Silverlight technology has taken the initiative where it is needed and I cannot see Adobe trumping that, especially when faced with the scale of the Microsoft development community. Greater co-operation between development and design teams means more productivity and it's the employers who will call the shots at the end of the day.

* I won't repeat the hype about being cross-browser and so on. The killer punch is the .NET Silvelight CoreLCR which weighs in at 4.5 MB. What a piece of engineering! Think about integration with Linq, Ajax, Web Services, Streaming... and just in case the opponent attempts to get back up off the floor, here comes the knockout blow... your JavaScript will run 250 times faster!!! In the future, where the RIA will be the name of the game, this is going to be a telling factor.


MSDN Silverlight Documentation

Overview of Differences between the 1.0 and 2 Beta 1 Runtimes

Videos, Tutorials and Samples