So it's April 12 and it is official -- Microsoft has announced the availability of Visual Studio 2010 (news, site) and Microsoft .NET Framework 4.0. It's an exciting time for developers. But what if you are not a developer? Well, there's something there for you to be excited about too.
What's in it For Me?
If you are a developer then you already know how important it is to get your hands on the latest and greatest version of Visual Studio 2010. I particularly like the support for using multiple monitors allowing you to have a monitor to work with code, one for UI design and another for database design.
But if you aren't down in the trenches working on the code behind those slick apps you either use internally or sell, then maybe you just aren't quite getting the need to upgrade?
Or maybe you are one of those developers trying to figure out exactly how to convince your boss to get you the latest and greatest. Because we all know, you never sell your boss with "it will make me code faster" -- N E V E R.
Some of the business benefits for Visual Studio 2010 in no particular order:
Building Apps for the Cloud
Are you thinking about moving all your applications to a cloud environment? Want to create some cloud services? Visual Studio 2010 includes tools for Windows Azure that will make it easier to not only build and test cloud-based apps, but deploy them into the environment as well.
Separating UI From Business Logic
There was a time when applications were developed that mixed the user interface code with the business logic code. A real nightmare to make changes, even small ones. Today we develop our applications differently, with the goal of separating user interface development from business or data access logic. ASP.NET MVC is one way to do this and it's fully supported within Visual Studio 2010 environment.
So if some decides that the "Submit" button should really say "Save", you can make that change without worrying that you could break some business logic somewhere.
Even better, you can build reusable business logic services that can be re-used over and over, with different interfaces. Maybe an application here, a dashboard module there. The point is you don't have to re-develop your code every time, focusing instead on getting the functionality correct.
Building applications takes time, especially when you have a lot of developers on your team. Part of that process is testing to ensure the app is doing what it's supposed to. With Visual Studio 2010, you now have Application Lifecycle Management that includes a new Test and Lab Manager which lets you to create and run test plans and test cases on your Visual Studio apps -- and you don't need to be in VS to use it.
There are also other tools that will help teams work better and smarter (notice I don't say faster?), including working on different versions of an application, Gated Checkin so only successful builds can be committed to the source tree and visual tracking of changes made to the source tree over time.
You've seen the new Windows Phone 7 right? A pretty good competitor for the iPhone and Blackberry. So wouldn't you love to develop the next big mobile application?
Or maybe you just want to enable your mobile workforce to work with smarter apps or mobile websites while they are in the field. Visual Studio 2010 offers integrated phone design surfaces, making it easy to build those mobile applications.
Yes, you could use older versions of Visual Studio to develop features and web parts for SharePoint. But Visual Studio 2010 goes further, offering a new toolkit with even more capabilities.
This version of Visual Studio includes a number of new designers that help make web part development easier. There's also a designer for the Business Data Services which allows you to build services that will work only with SharePoint but within Office applications you may be building.
Another nice feature is integrated debugging. This basically means you can test your SharePoint solutions within Visual Studio. No need to move your code over and cross your fingers that it works when you run it in SharePoint.
And let's just add a final benefit of a staging environment in SharePoint. So you don't have to deploy your code to production, but instead to a staging area where it can be thoroughly tested before going live. This should make management less nervous when it comes time to "go-live".
It's Not About Coding Faster
It's about coding smarter, taking the time to think about what you are creating and planning to do it properly. What you save in actual "coding" time, you spend doing better designs, more testing. So maybe it takes you just as long to build your application end-to-end, but you do with it a tool like Visual Studio 2010 that enables you to produce better quality apps that meet the needs of the people who will use it.
There are likely more business benefits to why Visual Studio 2010 is the best toolset for your development team, but there's certainly enough here to make the case. Did we miss something?