Now that Visual Studio "Orcas" has been dubbed Visual Studio 2008, Ed Tittel is giving it a look. Here he describes the release, which includes a streamlined IDE called Visual Studio Shell.
In the wake of Microsoft's May 15 announcement of Windows Server 2008 at the Windows Hardware Engineering Conference, aka WinHEC, Microsoft has given a similar name to the forthcoming release of Visual Studio.
Orcas has been renamed Visual Studio 2008, nomenclature that made its debut at Tech Ed 2007 in Orlando, as developers got together to chew their way through all kinds of interesting stuff; check out Virtual Tech Ed for pointers to materials originally presented or recorded there.
A new beta (Beta 2) for Visual Studio 2008 is expected some time later this summer and is expected to expose some brand-new functionality as well. Chief among these coming attractions is the Visual Studio 2008 Shell, aka Visual Studio Shell. This toolset is positioned as a streamlined Visual Studio development environment; it is designed to speed development and to accommodate custom tools and programming languages.
Visual Studio 2008 provides a mechanism to merge applications built around the integrated Shell -- called integrated mode -- with any other versions of Visual Studio it finds running on a computer. This makes additional programming languages and language extensions immediately available within a typical Visual Studio desktop --check out the screenshot of Visual Studio with Iron Python running inside a Python project window.
On the other hand, applications can be built around the isolated Shell -- called isolated mode, naturally -- so that they run side-by-side (rather than along with) other editions of Visual Studio installed on the same machine. Microsoft also includes a snazzy screenshot of the Fabrikam Home Automation Studio running in isolated mode in Visual Studio.
The difference between the two modes is intended to enable developers to create tools that leverage Visual Studio capabilities along with their own custom efforts (integrated), and to custom brand applications independently of Visual Studio (isolated).
Here is one other important tidbits of Visual Studio Shell information: This element will be built into the Visual Studio SDK when Visual Studio 2008 is released, and may be deployed in applications royalty-free. This SDK also includes documentation and examples to help developers start integrating their products into the Visual Studio Shell.
Additional tidbits are available in the VSX (Visual Studio Extensibility) Team blogs, most notably a whole slew of soapbox videos around the subject of the Visual Studio Shell:
- Craig Skibo talks technical about Visual Studio Shell
- Catherine Crim talks about the Visual Studio Shell
- Anthony Cangialosi talks about VSX and VSIP at TechEd07
This should make the next beta of Visual Studio 2008 pretty darn interesting. We just hope they'll let it out of the bag sooner rather than later.
Ed Tittel is a writer and trainer whose interests include XML and development topics, along with IT Certification and information security. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org with comments, questions, or suggested topics or tools to review. Cool tools rule!
This was first published in July 2007