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New Features in Visual Studio 2010

A quick tour of the new features and enhancements in .NET 4.0 and Visual Studio 2010

Visual Studio 2010 (VS2010) and .NET Framework 4.0 mark the next generation of developer tools from Microsoft. The VS2010 IDE comes in with a lot of new features and enhancements compared to its earlier counterparts. This article takes a look at these new features and enhancements and how you can make best use of them. The features discussed here apply to VS2010 Beta 2 or later (as of this writing, VS2010 Beta 2 is the current version). You can download a copy of VS2010 Beta 2 here.

Before we delve deep into the new features in VS2010, let's take a quick tour of the new features in Microsoft .NET Framework 4.0. (.NET Framework 4.0 is available as part of VS2010 Beta 2 or later.)

New Features in .NET 4.0
The most important addition to .NET 4.0 is the Dynamic Language Runtime (DLR), which provides a common set of technologies targeted at the managed environment to interoperate. Per MSDN, "The dynamic language runtime (DLR) is a runtime environment that adds a set of services for dynamic languages to the common language runtime (CLR). The DLR makes it easier to develop dynamic languages to run on the .NET Framework and to add dynamic features to statically typed languages. Dynamic languages can identify the type of an object at run time, whereas in statically typed languages such as C# and Visual Basic (when you use Option Explicit On) you must specify object types at design time. Examples of dynamic languages are Lisp, Smalltalk, JavaScript, PHP, Ruby, Python, ColdFusion, Lua, Cobra, and Groovy."

.NET 4.0 provides support for the DLR environment through the new System.Dynamic namespace. The DLR runs on top of the CLR and provides the following services:

  • dynamic method dispatch
  • dynamic type system
  • expression trees
  • dynamic code generation
  • Standard Hosting API

The DLR consists of the following three layers:

  • The .NET language integration layer
  • DLR code components
  • language binders

New Features and Enhancements in VS2010

New features and enhancements in the VS2010 IDE include:

  • enhanced support for multi-targeting
  • support for call hierarchy of methods
  • support for parallel programming and debugging
  • support for XSLT profiling and debugging
  • support for creating SharePoint applications
  • quick search
  • XSD Designer
  • UML Designer

Multi-targeting is a feature that you can use to design and implement applications targeted at various versions of .NET Framework. The VS2010 IDE provides support for designing and implementing applications targeted at .NET versions 2.0, 3.0, 3.5, and 4.0.

The VS2010 IDE provides an excellent support for code editing, searching, and navigating within the IDE. It supports:

  • call hierarchy of methods
  • zoom in/out source code
  • quick search
  • generate from usage
  • navigateTo option
    Parallel LINQ (PLINQ) is a concurrency execution engine used for executing Language-Integrated Query (LINQ) queries. It is a part of the Parallel Extensions library (previously known as Parallel Framework Extensions PFX), which is a managed concurrency library that comprises two parts: Task Parallel Library (TPL) and PLINQ. The former is a task parallelism component, and the latter is a concurrency execution engine built on top of the managed environment of the CLR. Support for PLINQ is built into the VS2010 IDE.

Call hierarchy of methods enables you to view the flow of method calls to and from a particular method. The VS2010 IDE also provides support for creating SharePoint applications using its built-in SharePoint Designer. It also contains a built-in XSD Designer and UML Designer. VS2010 contains a built-in UML designer that can be used to design your UML diagrams from within the VS2010 IDE itself. So, you no longer need to depend on external UML design tools such as Rational Rose or Visio to design your UML diagrams. In the VS2010 IDE, you have a number of built-in project templates for designing and developing SharePoint applications using Visual Basic or C# as the programming language.

Here's what the VS2010 Beta 2 opening screen looks like:

And here's what the main window of the VS2010 Beta 2 IDE looks like:


VS2010 marks the next generation of developer tools from Microsoft that provides you a single integrated development environment with prototyping, designing, modeling, and testing tools to build Windows and web applications seamlessly. We've examined the new features and enhancements in VS2010 and how you can leverage those features in designing your applications. You can learn more about these features in my upcoming book Visual Studio 2010 .NET 6 in 1. You can also take a look at my screencast "New Features in Visual Studio 2010."

Joydip Kanjilal is a Microsoft MVP in ASP.NET. He has over 12 years of industry experience in IT with more than six years in Microsoft .NET and its related technologies. Joydip has authored several ASP.NET and programming books and more than 200 articles. He blogs at

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