Web deployment and parallel programming
Web deployment hasn't historically been one of Visual Studio's great strengths. All too often, I found myself switching to an FTP client for deployment instead of using the deployment tools in Visual Studio 2008. The one-click publishing feature of VS2010 may well change that, although I have yet to work up the courage to use it on a production site.
For me, the biggest new features of VS2010 have to do with parallel programming. I once wrote part of a book on parallel programming, and I have been following the various languages, frameworks, and libraries with interest, including Joe Duffy's work at Microsoft. I'm not sure that I've completely grasped the power of the new .Net Framework and native C++ support for task and data parallelism in VS2010, but what I've seen so far is impressive. A bunch of interesting parallel programming samples have recently been posted on CodePlex; I think they're worth checking out.
I'm not going to cover Team System or Team Foundation Server in this first look, but I want to mention the Architecture Explorer, a client-side feature of Team System. Microsoft has gotten serious about UML modeling; in the last two screen shots of the highlights sidebar I demonstrate class exploration and the automatic generation of architecture diagrams, which are just two of the many features useful to programmers as well as architects.
Beta bugs and omissions
It wouldn't be fair to completely gloss over the deficiencies of Visual Studio 2010 just because it's still a beta. I want you to know what to expect -- and what not to expect -- should you download and test the beta 1 product.
First of all, don't waste any time looking for the MSDN library for this beta. There is no local version; it's entirely online. I don't actually mind this; if my Internet connection is down, I can't do most of what constitutes my work for long.
If you're installing on Windows 7, as I did, the SQL Server installer built into the Visual Studio installer will fail. What you can do is to download and install SQL Server 2008 with SP1 separately. You can safely install either or both of the Express and Developer versions of the database.
I personally have encountered only one bug in this beta that has yet to be resolved. For some reason, after I installed the Silverlight 2.0 runtime and SDK, I could not debug the Silverlight projects. I'm not sure if this is a 64-bit issue or an installation problem; I expect that the problem will go away at some point, probably when I install a newer version of the Silverlight tools.
In any case, I'm looking forward to the incremental drops of add-ons to the Visual Studio 2010 beta and to the next beta. It's good now; I expect that it's going to be great by the time it ships.
Visual Studio 2010 Beta 1 is a very promising upgrade to the premier IDE for .Net development. It improves the UI, IntelliSense, and Designers; supports parallel programming; and improves support for test-driven development. It's still missing support for ASP.Net MVC and smart devices.
Follow Digital Arts on Twitter! @digital_arts