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Microsoft Releases Visual Studio, .NET Betas

LOS ANGELES -- UPDATED: Developers at the Professional Developer Conference (PDC) not only got their hands on the latest builds of Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2, they also got community technical previews of Visual Studio 2010 and .NET Framework 4.0.

The CTPs of Visual Studio 2010 and .NET Framework 4.0 are available for download from a joint portal the two share.

Visual Studio 2008 has only been on the market for a few months but Microsoft is letting no grass grow under its feet by getting to work on the new version. Scott Guthrie, corporate vice president of the .NET Developer division, was a keynote speaker on this second day of PDC, where he discussed how Microsoft is making the transition from traditional clients to cloud-based services.

Guthrie said VS2010 was built using the Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF), Microsoft's library for rich visual displays, and this will result in flash and polish not usually seen in something as mundane as a compiler. VS2010 will offer features like multi-monitor support, richer code editing and richer code visualization.

Both Visual Studio 2010 and the .NET Framework 4.0 will include programming models for adding parallel programming. Such technology is needed with the advent of multi-core processors, since the chips aren't running faster. They are simply adding more cores.

Parallelism and concurrency

Some applications lend themselves well to parallelism, where multiple portions of the app can execute at the same time. Concurrency is being added into .NET Framework libraries for developing native applications with C++ that execute efficiently on parallel hardware.

Guthrie said .NET 4.0 would feature enhancements to WPF, such as multi-touch and Deep Zoom support, support for dynamic language runtime as well as static programming languages like C#. He also said CLR2 and CLR 4 can both be loaded, so CLR-based apps from older versions of .NET can be called without requiring they be

Visual Studio and .NET 4.0 will also allow for customizing the widgets on applications, and for adding the Ribbon UI first introduced in Office 2007. Its support for multi-touch is similar to that found in Windows 7 and also in Microsoft Surface, the company's touchscreen table PC.