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Unless you are living under a rock, you have probably heard that two days ago, at Build, Microsoft unveiled the new version of Windows, named Windows 8.

Windows 8

This is revolutionary both from the consumers’ and developers’ perspectives. The UI is deeply based on the concept of the tiles of Windows Phone 7.5 “mango” and the Metro design language, and the API are now allowing applications to be written either in C#/C++ and the usual .NET/Win32, or using WinRT, basically an Object Oriented version of Win32 or, as someone says, COM done right, and C#+XAML or JavaScript+HTML/CSS. Here is a (bit blurry) diagram taken from the keynote.

Windows8Architecture_485458D4

You can go and play yourself with the developer preview of Win8 and all the tools for building Metro style app by downloading the iso and installing it on your PC or using VirtualBox especially useful if you own a Mac.

But I don’t want to talk more about Win8 as, even if I have to admit this is a huge step toward the future of UI, at the moment I’m mainly interested in web applications and in development process. So the rest of this post will be a collections of link to other interesting products released at Build.

ASP.NET 4.5 and ASP.NET MVC 4

Above everything we have the new full .NET 4.5 web stack, with ASP.NET 4.5, ASP.NET MVC 4 and Web Pages 2. My favorite new features are: automatic minification and bundling of resources (both JS and CSS) and native support for WebSockets. Also pretty awesome is the new mobile layout support in MVC4 and the inclusion of jQuery.Mobile inside asp.net mvc4, and strongly typed models brought to webforms.

I encourage you to go and read the detailed release notes:

If you are an MSDN subscriber, you can download the previews now, otherwise you’d have to wait till Friday for the general availability.

Some other useful links related to ASP.NET vNext are:

Visual Studio 11 and TFS 11 (and Blend 5)

The other new products are Visual Studio 11 (beware, it’s v11, not 2011), TFS and Blend 5.

Starting from Blend 5, I have to say that it’s unfortunately not available as stand-alone application, but only as part of the Windows Developer Preview ISO. What it’s so great about it is that it will not only support XAML, but also HTML/CSS/JavaScript. You can read more about it in the the new BlendInsider blog by the Expression team.

Moving on to Visual Studio 11, the main big new feature is the ability to write Metro style applications, and great new tools to help developing games. Read more about that new features.

For what concerns web development, they completely re-wrote the JavaScript editor and IntelliSense should pick up referenced JavaScript files (finally, now that is a core language also for the desktop), added support for HTML5 tags, enhanced CSS editor and better code formatting. And Smart Tags if you use Design View.

Also, there should be local database available directly from inside Visual Studio and IIS Express will completely replace Cassini. More details on the new features of Web Dev are available on the web dev tools team blog.

And Page Inspector brings the IE dev tools directly in Visual Studio, and integrates them also with server side code (not just HTML)

Finishing up with ALM and code quality, they added a nice Clone analysis tool, and better integration with TFS for code reviews and code differences visualization.

Finally TFS: finally embracing Scrum (the real one, not MS Agile), the new TFS provides a web based UI for managing team projects. Highlights of the new release are the Metro style UI and the web based Scrum board. If you don’t have a spare machine with the horsepower required by the full installation (2.2Ghz CPU and 10Gb of RAM), and don’t want to bother with keeping up with the updates of the server, you can setup a preview team project in the cloud at http://tfspreview.com/. There are also some interesting videos for an overview of the new features of TFS11.

What Next?

I think all big announcements have been made. But Build continues till Friday, and more than 250 technical session are being held. If you did not attend, all the recording from Build are available online on Channel9.

Exciting time ahead!!

posted on Thursday, September 15, 2011 12:13 PM
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