Seattle NETDA Meeting
Dave Winer, founder of UserLand software, co-author of SOAP, author of RSS 2.0 and OPML, and Robert Scoble, human aggregator, spoke for an hour about blogging and RSS. Scoble introduced developers to RSS aggregators as well as weblog publishing. It was surprising that very few developers were aware of RSS readers or even the weblog phenomenon. David Winer spoke more about the underlying standards of RSS.
VB.NET in Whidbey
The lecture was followed by a talk by Robert Greene, VB program manager, about new features in Whidbey for VB.NET. His primary focus was on new productivity features in VB, most of which has been discussed before and is available in the PDC build: The My namespace, disposable projects, background spelling (and semantic) checking, edit-and-continue, and so on. There are numerous articles on these new VB features on the web, so I won't discuss them here.
Whidbey looks and behaves visually different from the PDC build. The toolbox is now a treeview, allowing controls from different categories to be viewed simultaneously. Toolbars are now Office 2003 like. The navigation controls for docking appears to be more polished. VS boots and performs much faster; my guess is that a good portion of the improvement is due to the performance work in the CLR.
The forms designer, with dozens of bells and whistles, is substantially improved for usability. For instance, in situ editing within controls at design time is provided for changing control text, control names or just about any property. I was surprised that partial classes were still not generated by the designer--an indication that there is still more development work going on and beta is still some time away.
Apparently, VS will come with hundreds of snippets (VB) and expansions (C#) for quickly generating short commonly used code snippets. VS is a much more open environment. It is much easier to create project templates, for instance. Code snippets, project settings, and other options are easy to export or share across a group.
This release has a lot of polish. Robert Greene implied that an updated version of VS will be handed out at DevDays; however, I have no confidence in his answer, since I suspect he doesn't really know.