There have been lots of programming tool updates recently

Flex logoFlash/ Flex

Adobe recently released a RC (release candidate) for Flash Player 10. This adds many nice new features to Flash, such as built-in 3D support, better drawing features, custom filters and effects and – probably most importantly – flash finally gets decent multinational text support.

Adobe also recently released version 3.1 of the Flex API. This update to the Flex 3 API offers support for AIR 1.1, FLash Player 10 and also contains numerous bug fixes.

Finally Adobe have released Flex Builder 3.0.1. This update includes the new Flex 3.1 API and support for Eclipse 3.4.

Visual Studio logoVisual Studio & .NET

Last week Microsoft released .NET 3.5 SP1.This update to the .NET framework offers performance increases to WPF applications, improvements to WCF and support for SQL Server 2008’s new features.

Further, they released Visual Studio 2008 SP1, which includes .NET 3.5 SP1 as well as improved designers for WPF and ADO.NET, new C++ tools and components (including an MFC office ribbon component) and improved JavaScript/ AJAX support.

Microsoft released Silverlight 2 as I predicted. Well actually they didn’t, which meant my prediction was utterly wrong. As they had made a big thing about MBC using Silverlight 2 to provide their Olympic coverage, I expected Microsoft to release Silverlight 2 just before. The reality was very different. Most of the MBC Olympic site runs off Flash and only the video feeds are supplied via the beta of Silverlight 2. Very disapointing.

Microsoft release incredibly detailed VS2008 comparison chart

Visual Studio logoDid you know there are 11 versions of Visual Studio 2008? If so, have you ever wondered what the differences are between them all? If so, Microsoft have come to your rescue with a 32 page Visual Studio product comparison guide. So now you too can know which versions support the Settings and Constraints Editor or the C/C++ Code Analysis tool for example, along with dozens of other feature comparisons.

It’s even available as a PDF. Hurrah for EU fines 😉

.NET Source Code Released to VS2008 Developers

visualstudio.gifBack in October, I wrote a blog post about Microsoft’s plans to make the source code of .NET available under a “look; don’t touch” license to VS2008 developers. At the time, some were predicting it was the end of open source, and some were predicting it was the start of Microsoft going open source with .NET. Whether either extreme will come to pass is unknown (though also highly unlikely in my view), but time may well begin to tell. As of this week, Microsoft have begun the roll-out of that source. More details (including how to access the sources) are available over on Scott Guthrie’s blog.

More VS2008 goodies: Silverlight and Visual Studio Shell

VS2008Silverlight 1.1 Tools Alpha for Visual Studio 2008

The VS2008 development tools for Silverlight 1.1 have been re-released and now work with the release version of VS2008. The tools ad-on can be downloaded from here.

Visual Studio 2008 Shell

Do you have a burning desire to develop your own IDE? Perhaps you have an amazing new feature to add to VS200? Either way, Visual Studio 2008 Shell may be just what you need. It comes in two flavours: integrated mode and standalone mode. In the first case, it is effectively a development framework for your amazing new feature that enables it to integrate seamlessly into VS2008. In the second case, it is the skeleton of an IDE that you can customise to your requirements and re-badge to fit your brand image, rather than Microsoft’s.

You can read more about it here.

Microsoft release a whole bundle of developer goodies

microsoft.pngMicrosoft saw fit to release a bunch of new stuff yesterday:

Visual Studio 2008
The express and team editions are available to download from MSDN (if you have a subscription). The express edition is available here (you’ll need Silverlight installed to access it), and a 90 day trial of the team addition can be downloaded from here.

You can read more about this release on Scott Guthrie’s blog and Somasegar’s blog.

.NET Framework 3.5
The .NET Framework 3.5 is bundled in with Visual Studio 2008, but it is also released as a separate download from here. Finally LINQ is let loose upon the great unwashed. Yah!

Sql Server 2008 CTP
The latest Community Technology Preview has been released for Sql Server 2008. More details here.

Microsoft Office Compatibility Pack for Word, Excel, and PowerPoint 2007 File Formats
Version 3 of this package that enables you to read Ofiice 2007 files on Office XP/ 2003 was released a couple of days ago too. It can be downloaded from here. IMPORTANT: read the instructions carefully; you must install all priority updates before installing this support pack.

VLite 1.1 Beta 2
OK this isn’t a Microsoft product, but it’s a great one anyway and a new version was released yesterday, so I’m giving it a mention. VLite is a application that enables one to build a lightweight version of Vista with all the “bloatware” stripped out. The latest version can be downloaded from here.