Visual Studio 2010 RC Released

The release candidate (RC) build of Visual Studio 2010 and .NET Framework 4 is available this week with a go-live license for production environments. Microsoft released the bits to the Microsoft Developer Network (MSDN) on Monday. General availability is planned for Wednesday, according to the company.

The public VS 2010 RC follows two beta releases, the latest in October 2009. Despite significant progress since Beta 1, released in May 2009, Beta 2 testers reported sluggish performance compared to VS 2008, buggy or missing functionality, issues with memory consumption and stability concerns. Those issues caused Microsoft to push back the intended March launch event and release the public RC build.

Through its Visual Studio Connect and survey sites, Microsoft received lots of feedback on VS 2010 Beta 2, according to Jason Zander, general manager of the Visual Studio team at Microsoft.

"In particular, many of you pointed out areas of performance where we were not at parity with VS 2008 and it was impacting your ability to adopt the product," Zander said in his blog. "Some of those areas of feedback included general UI responsiveness (including painting, menus, remote desktop and VMs), editing (typing, scrolling and Intellisense), designers (Silverlight and WPF in particular), improved memory usage, debugging (stepping, managed/native interop), build times, and solution/project load."

The wide release of the public RC test build enables developers to report bugs and other stability and performance issues before the planned April 12 launch. Bug reports should be submitted via the Microsoft's Visual Studio Connect.

"The primary motivation behind releasing a public RC was to ensure that we could get broad testing and feedback on the performance and stability work we've been doing since the last public VS 2010 Beta 2 release," said Scott Guthrie, corporate vice president of Microsoft's developer division, in his blog. Guthrie is also requesting direct e-mails on any issues that developers find.

Early reports by MSDN developers who have downloaded the RC build indicate vast speed and performance improvements.

The VS 2010 launch event planned for April 12 has not been confirmed as the date of the VS 2010/.NET 4 release to manufacturing (RTM), although Microsoft would like to release the new development environment in that timeframe. The timing of the RTM "partly depends" on the developer feedback that Microsoft receives on the VS 2010/ .NET 4 RC, according to Guthrie.

In VS 2010 Beta 2, many developers reported issues when working with XAML, Windows Presentation Foundation and Silverlight. The VS 2010 RC supports Silverlight 3.0 apps. Silverlight 4.0, still in beta, is not supported in this release.

"We will be adding VS 2010 RC support for [Silverlight] 4 with the next public Silverlight 4 drop," explained Guthrie. "If you are doing active Silverlight 4 development today we recommend staying with the VS '10 Beta 2 build for now."

The VS 2010 RC can be installed on machines with VS 2005 and VS 2008, but users need to remove VS 2010 Beta 2 and .NET 4 Beta 2, according to Microsoft. MSDN subscribers can download the RC of VS2010 and .NET 4 here.

Microsoft is also working with companies that supply widely used third-party add-ins -- ReSharper, CodeRush and Whole Tomato -- to ensure that the tooling works as advertised in the new IDE. "We've still got more work to do here but are making great progress," Zander said.

About the Author

Kathleen Richards is the editor of and executive editor of Visual Studio Magazine.