Microsoft Releases Visual Studio 2011 Beta and Windows 8 Consumer Preview

Double the fun for developers and consumers today, as Microsoft launched the consumer preview of their new tablet-friendly Windows 8 OS, alongside the first beta of Visual Studio 2011, which will provide all the necessary tools for developers to get to grips with Win 8’s new “Metro” styling.

Windows 8 has already been widely discussed for its “Metro” start screen which is a definite nod to the iPad inspired tablet generation.  The whole design is being adopted by Microsoft across all its devices, including Windows Phone and Xbox 360.

Windows 8's new "Metro" start menu

But everybody and their dog knew that already.  So why should you try the Windows 8 CP?  Well, aside from the graphical revamp (which does extend beyond the start screen, but not as much as the press shots would have you believe) there are a number of new features that are worth taking note.  As well as the obligatory iteration of Internet Explorer (now in its 10th installment), the best addition is the concept of contracts, which provide constantly evolving interactivity between applications.  Part of the Metro development toolkit, this allows developers to expose parts of the functionality of their applications, which can then be used by other applications to borrow and include those features.  This means that functionality can be updated and improved and immediately made available to others using the features in question, without the consuming application ever having to be updated.

Interesting stuff, especially for developers, and something that’s going to be fully supported in: Visual Studio 2011.

 

Despite its outdated name, the Visual Studio 2011 Beta promises the most feature-packed version of the package yet, coming with ASP.NET 4.5, MVC 4 and a whole host of upgrades and improvements to existing features, as well as a new set of tools geared around developing applications for use with Windows 8.

A few choice improvements include native HTML 5 support for Web Forms, more enhanced support for improving page performance, such as CSS and JavaScript file management and finally, a fix for GridView paging which means it no longer has to load ALL rows every time a new page is displayed!  Away from web development, there’s enhanced support for asynchronous coding, WPF, WCF and a load of tweaks to debugging, networking and everything else under the sun.

I’m off to get these new releases installed, you can do the same using the links below.

Download the Windows 8 Consumer Preview here.

And, get the Visual Studio 2011 Ultimate Beta here.

Solutions Architect at Indicia. More years than I care to remember wrangling SQL Server and .NET, now mainly AWS. Data geek, football fan, and Xbox gamer. Check out my other blog Press B To Parent if you’re a gamer.

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