Today Microsoft shipped Visual Studio 2008 and .NET 3.5. You can download the final release using one of the links below:
* If you are a MSDN subscriber, you can download your copy from the MSDN subscription site (note: some of the builds are just finishing being uploaded now – so check back later during the day if you don’t see it yet).
* If you are a non-MSDN subscriber, you can download a 90-day free trial edition of Visual Studio 2008 Team Suite here. A 90-day trial edition of Visual Studio 2008 Professional (which will be a slightly smaller download) will be available next week. A 90-day free trial edition of Team Foundation Server can also be downloaded here.
*If you want to use the free Visual Studio 2008 Express editions (which are much smaller and totally free), you can download them here.
* If you want to just install the .NET Framework 3.5 runtime, you can download it here.
List of New Features – old version
– VS 2008 Multi-Targeting Support
VS 2008 enables you to build applications that target multiple versions of the .NET Framework. This means you can use VS 2008 to open, edit and build existing .NET 2.0 and ASP.NET 2.0 applications (including ASP.NET 2.0 applications using ASP.NET AJAX 1.0), and continue to deploy these application on .NET 2.0 machines.
.NET 3.5 has ASP.NET AJAX built-in (no separate download required). In addition to including all of the features in ASP.NET AJAX 1.0, ASP.NET 3.5 also now includes richer support for UpdatePanels integrating with WebParts, ASP.NET AJAX integration with controls like
– VS 2008 Web Designer and CSS Support
VS 2008 and Visual Web Developer 2008 Express includes a significantly improved HTML web designer (the same one that ships with Expression Web). This delivers support for split-view editing, nested master pages, and great CSS integration.
– Language Improvements and LINQ
The new VB and C# compilers in VS 2008 deliver significant improvements to the languages. Both add functional programming concepts that enable you to write cleaner, terser, and more expressive code. These features also enable a new programming model we call LINQ (language integrated query) that makes querying and working with data a first-class programming concept with .NET.
– Data Access Improvements with LINQ to SQL
LINQ to SQL is a built-in OR/M (object relational mapper) in .NET 3.5. It enables you to model relational databases using a .NET object model. You can then query the database using LINQ, as well as update/insert/delete data from it. LINQ to SQL fully supports transactions, views, and stored procedures. It also provides an easy way to integrate business logic and validation rules into your data model.
– Browsing the .NET Framework Library Source using Visual Studio
Lots of other improvements
The list above is only a small set of the improvements coming. For client development VS 2008 includes WPF designer and project support. ClickOnce and WPF XBAPs now work with FireFox. WinForms and WPF projects can also now use the ASP.NET Application Services (Membership, Roles, Profile) for roaming user data.
Office development is much richer – including support for integrating with the Office 2007 ribbon, and with Outlook. Visual Studio Tools for Office support is also now built-into Visual Studio (you no longer need to buy a separate product).
New WCF and Workflow projects and designers are now included in VS 2008. Unit testing support is now much faster and included in VS Professional (and no longer just VSTS). Continuous Integration support is now built-in with TFS. AJAX web testing (unit and load) is now supported in the VS Test SKU. And there is much, much more…
People often ask me for suggestions on how best to upgrade from previous betas of Visual Studio 2008. In general I’d recommend uninstalling the Beta2 bits explicitly. As part of this you should uninstall Visual Studio 2008 Beta2, .NET Framework Beta2, as well as the Visual Studio Web Authoring Component (these are all separate installs and need to be uninstalled separately). I then usually recommend rebooting the machine after uninstalling just to make sure everything is clean before you kick off the new install. You can then install the final release of VS 2008 and .NET 3.5 on the machine.
Once installed, I usually recommend explicitly running the Tools->Import and Export Settings menu option, choosing the “Reset Settings” option, and then re-pick your preferred profile. This helps ensure that older settings from the Beta2 release are no longer around (and sometimes seems to help with performance).
Note that VS 2008 runs side-by-side with VS 2005 – so it is totally fine to have both on the same machine (you will not have any problems with them on the same box).
Silverlight Tools and VS Web Deployment Project Add-Ins
Two popular add-ins to Visual Studio are not yet available to download for the final VS 2008 release. These are the Silverlight 1.1 Tools Alpha for Visual Studio and the Web Deployment Project add-in for Visual Studio. Our hope is to post updates to both of them to work with the final VS 2008 release in the next two weeks. If you are doing Silverlight 1.1 development using VS 2008 Beta2 you’ll want to stick with with VS 2008 Beta2 until this updated Silverlight Tools Add-In is available.