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Today (19 Oct 2009) the Visual Studio team released the second beta for Visual Studio 2010 to the public.  This is a significant milestone for the team and a huge improvement over the previous beta in my opinion as a user.  As a developer, you can find out how/when you can download Visual Studio 2010 and .NET Framework 4 beta 2 from here.

After installing the tools, one thing you may notice right away is a different look of branding of Visual Studio going forward for now.  Gone is the beloved multi-colored infinity looking thing (that’s what I call it at least) and enter the updated logo.

Visual Studio 2010 brand logo

I’d encourage you to download it when you can (MSDN Subscribers can do that today, general availability on Wednesday, 21 Oct) and start playing around with it.

What’s new for Silverlight developers in VS2010?

Well, the good news is no more work around hacks to get Visual Studio 2010 working with Silverlight development!  So what happens now when you install.  Here’s my experience from a clean machine (no existing SDKs, nor any version of Visual Studio as well).

After install of Visual Studio 2010 I have this for Silverlight development:

  • Visual Web Developer
  • Silverlight 3 SDK
  • Silverlight 3 Tools (build 40818, the latest)

A few things missing here:

See below to get the October 2009 release of the Silverlight Toolkit to get all that goodness and support for VS2010.  Remember the installer for the toolkit also gives you the option to deploy the source (which you still have to unzip) which is EXTREMELY helpful in understanding how controls work in general as well as extending the controls to fit your own needs.

For .NET RIA Services, we don’t yet have a supported build for Visual Studio 2010 Beta 2.  More information on this will be coming so make sure to subscribe to my feed here for updates and watch the forums.  I’m seeing if I can work on publishing a potential work around for RIA Services users and will post an update here if I can.  UPDATE: View information about RIA Services roadmap and VS2010 from the team here.

After installing VS2010 though, you can start developing your Silverlight applications and use the editable designer surface as well.  Expression Blend will still be your friend for Visual State Manager editing and animation recording, in my opinion.

Making the designer have some better performance

For beta 2, there is a registry entry you can add (we did say it was beta right ;-)) to make the WPF/Silverlight designer perform better. 

NOTE: Editing your registry can be dangerous if you aren’t familiar with it.  It can cause wars, harm children and hurt your machine.  You’ve been warned.

To enable this, perform these steps with all instances of Visual Studio shut down:

  1. Open regedit.exe using admin permissions (on vista/win7)
  2. Navigate to HKLM\Software\Microsoft\VisualStudio\10.0 key
  3. Right-click and add a new Key named “ClrHost”
  4. In the new key, right-click and create a new DWORD32 with the name of StartupFlags
  5. Set the value of StartupFlags to 5
  6. Close regedit and use Visual Studio as you normally would

I’ve also made a reg file to make this easier.  You can download this file: Dev10DesignerFix.renametoreg and rename it to .reg and double-click it to get this entry.  I chose to force you to rename to .reg so you know what you are doing :-).  This is a step that will not be necessary in the final release version.

Silverlight Toolkit October 2009 Release

Additionally today, the Silverlight Toolkit published the October 2009 release of the bits.  Primarily this was for support of Visual Studio 2010 integration, but also includes drag-drop support for key controls as well as some charting and other API improvements/fixes.  You can read the full details of the release of the toolkit here and download the latest build.

Hopefully you all have a chance to start working with Visual Studio 2010.  I am looking forward to using the new IDE and features to help me be more productive!

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