Visual Studio Future

5/31/2005 8:15:02 PM

Visual Studio Future

eWeek a few weeks ago reported on two future versions of Visual Studio, Orcas and Hawaii.

Orcas version is slated to ship next year a few months after Longhorn to support new Longhorn features. I guess in order for Orcas guarantee it works with the released version of Longhorn, it needs to be tested against the released version.

So, will Longhorn ship with version 3.0 of the .NET Framework? I was under the early assumption it would, but, to ensure against slippage especially after Whidbey’s yearlong delay, I think we will more likely find a more incremental version of the framework .NET v2.1 in Longhorn. On the other hand, in a recent CLR dinner, there were clearly plans afoot to add substantially to the .NET Framework.

Orcas includes the following according to the report:

  • XAML designer. This would complete the development story for Avalon. XAML is increasingly becoming difficult to create by hand; some of the samples appear very much computer-generated.

    I realized lately that since XAML is not grid-based, it would provide a radically different experience from WinForms designer. In addition, vector-shapes, animations, 3D support, transformations and flowing text imply the existence of new designer concepts like layers and timelines—pretty much a full-fledged commercial multimedia package like Flash.
  • Language improvements. The C# recently had a design review for upcoming features. Anders spoke of additional features on database/XML integration (COmega) and borrowings from declarative/functional/dynamics languages. The was also some research done on introducing new concurrency features. I assume parallel development efforts are going for VB and C++, which is expected to finish off its CLI integration.
  • Microsoft Business Frameworks. Based on work from Great Plains Software, which Microsoft acquired, this is a set of developer tools and framework of business functionality, that include object-relational mapping and transaction management.
  • Programming model improvements in CSS and XHTML for ASP.NET.
  • Others. eWeek mentions “support for extensive managed interfaces in Longhorn [including Avalon and Indigo], new user interface tools and designers, an improved security model, and support for a new data storage model.”

Hawaii involves a redesigned IDE to enable a whole new set of capabilities for the developer. Another article appearing at the time quoted a Microsoft manager refering to storage of all project data (down to the semantics of code) in a centralized database. I am not sure how granular the term “code semantics” is, but in VS 2005, it was only possible to delve into the level of function calls, not to line-by-line statements in the VS object model.

This is what I previously pointed in a post of the Source Code In Database concept, which moves away from the present-day reliance on text files. There are significant flexibility and performance advantages to this approach, enabling rich and alternative graphical views better refactoring, better code generation, and so on. I guess this is a natural move, since the class designer is playing a more central role in Visual Studio, and there are such significant limitations in the Whidbey implementation that internal tool teams at Microsoft are probably demanding more.






Net Undocumented is a blog about the internals of .NET including Xamarin implementations. Other topics include managed and web languages (C#, C++, Javascript), computer science theory, software engineering and software entrepreneurship.

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