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Our most popular stories from 2005 covered a lot of ground -- Visual Studio 2005, Visual Basic 2005, Avalon, ASP.NET and, of course, the future of .NET development.

With apologies to David Letterman, we present our 10 most popular stories from 2005. As you will see, there was a lot on your minds over the last 12 months – Visual Studio 2005, Visual Basic 2005, Avalon, ASP.NET and, of course, the future of .NET development.

10. VS2005 and the quality factor (Nov. 21)
It wasn't long after the release of Visual Studio 2005 that bloggers started claiming it was rushed out the door and was crawling with bugs. Contributor Mike Gunderloy argued that it wasn't a product issue but, in the age of the blogosphere, a perception issue.

9. Microsoft's Avalon presentation API is coming (Aug. 13)
Though Avalon lost its name – it's now the less-hip Windows Presentation Foundation – it promises many gains for Windows interface designers, less up-front work for developers and a slew of UI possibilities that should make Apple a little nervous.

8. .NET Framework 2.0 breaks: The sky is (not really) falling (June 3)
Much ballyhoo surrounded a Microsoft report on compatibility between the .NET Framework 1.1 and 2.0, then in beta. Mike Gunderloy found that most of the problems were trivial at best.

7. VB2005 'My' Space set to help developer (Aug. 10)
A number of Visual Basic 2003 developers told Microsoft that the Namespaces framework was not the ideal tool for finding things. The response in VB 2005 was the My namespace, which comprises a set of shortcuts to common functionality. As one Microsoft director put it, "We often refer to this as a speed dial into the .NET framework."

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6. VB 2005 Application Framework gets rolling in earnest (Feb. 7)
Having learned from the shock that accompanied the jump from VB to .NET, Microsoft made sure it got the word out about what developers needed to know for the move to .NET 2.0. Here site editor Jack Vaughan highlighted articles, videos and events to help the cause.

5. At the PDC: Gates shows what's in store for developers in 2006 (Sept. 13)
When Bill Gates took the stage at this year's Professional Developers Conference, he had a lot to talk about – Office 12, Vista, Atlas, Indigo and LINQ. None of the aforementioned is ready for prime time now, but odds are you will have most of this technology in your hand this time next year.

4. ASP.NET resources (April 18, 2005)
Upgrades and extensions in the development world often come with concerns, and the move from ASP to ASP.NET is no exception. Here gathered links, overviews and tips for developers making their way to the next generation toolset.

3. Visual Studio 2005 Beta 2: Time to "Go Live"? (April 22)
The release of VS 2005 Beta 2 coincided with Microsoft's release of the Go Live license, which let developers build apps with Visual Studio 2005, put them into internal production (as opposed to testing) use, and even distribute them. Since this Go Live release came with plenty of caveats – with lack of support from Redmond topping the list – Mike Gunderloy offered four "good reasons" for deploying the license.

2. UML "Amigo" Ivar Jacobson endorses Microsoft tool (Nov. 16)
Prominent software design guru Ivar Jacobson, one of the three software design founders of the Unified Modeling Language (UML), pledged to support Microsoft Visual Studio 2005 Team System. With the Essential Unified Process connected to Microsoft's framework, Jacobson claims a combination of "good methodology, process and agility" can be achieved.

And the top story of the year on is….

1. MSDN pricing: Case of bad expectation setting? (March 26)
When Microsoft announced the new pricing structure for Visual Studio 2005, independent developers were a bit peeved. It wasn't the low end of the scale that caught their attention but the high end, where the new Visual Studio Team Edition started at nearly $5,500 per product. For long-time MSDN subscribers, this caused serious sticker shock.

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