The goal of this release was to reduce the complexity of building, managing, and deploying all types of applications and by such giving developers more time to focus on solving development challenges. By supporting several languages it will allow programmers of all backgrounds to rapidly create superior end-user experiences.
So what is new in Visual Studio 2008?
• .NET Framework 3.5 – builds on the .NET Framework 3.0 with enhancements to feature areas such as the base class library, Windows Workflow Foundation (WF), Windows Communications Foundation (WCF), Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF), and Windows Cardspace, as well as LINQ, ASP.NET AJAX, and other improvements.
• LINQ Support – also known as Language Integrated Query will allow developers to query data sources like ADO.NET, SQL, and XML. Included are three LINQ implementations: LINQ to SQL which allows users to write queries to retrieve and manipulate data from a SQL Server, LINQ to XML which provides a new way to construct and write and read XML data in the .NET language of choice, and LINQ to Datasets which makes it easier and faster to query data cached in a dataset object. LINQ generally out performs SqlDataAdaptor and reasonably close to SqlDataReader. Considering the additional benefits of LINQ, this is great news.
• Targeted .NET Frameworks – now allows you to target the .NET Framework that you want. In Prior incarnations of Visual Studio, you could only target the released version. VS 2002 only worked with .NET 1.0, VS 2003 only worked with .NET 1.1 and VS 2005 only worked with .NET 2.0. Now you have a choice. You can select between 2.0, 3.0 and 3.5. This means when you update your existing application to work with VS 2008, you can stay with the .NET 2.0 Framework and so your clients won't have to upgrade their system. If at some point later you want to update to .NET 3.5 select it on the properties page. Unfortunately, because of significant CLR engine changes, you cannot go back to .NET 1.x.