Language-Integrated Query (LINQ)
Language-Integrated Query (LINQ) is one of the new powerful features in Visual Studio 2008 that extend powerful query capabilities into the language syntax of C# and Visual Basic for almost every data source, i.e., Objects, Relational (SQL) Databases, Datasets, XML documents and so on with compile time checks – a feature that is missing in the traditional query languages.
VS 2008 Multi-Targeting Support
Scott Gu states in his blog, “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.”
Earlier we could work with .NET 1.0, .NET 1.1 and .NET 2.0. in Visual Studio 2002 , Visual Studio 2003 and Visual Studio 2005 respectively. Now in Visual studio 2008, we can create, run and, debug applications built using .NET Framework Versions 2.0, 3.0 or 3.5. Just select the right version of the .NET Framework when you are creating a project. Refer to the figure given below:
Note that your will be prompted to migrate your application to Visual Studio 2008 if you try to open any project created in lower versions of Visual Studio. You can then choose to migrate at that time or even later.
Integrated AJAX Support
One of the most important challenges web application developers face is the requirement for a fast and responsive user interface. Ajax is fast becoming the technology of choice for designing and implementing fast and responsive web applications. Usage of Ajax in your applications can reduce unnecessary web server hits, and provide you a fast, rich and, responsive user interface with faster web page renderings and reduced consumption of the web server’s resources (memory and processor load is reduced).
In the earlier versions of Visual Studio, you have had to install the Ajax library separately. With Visual Studio 2008, there is no need to install the AJAX library separately as you have an inbuilt support for Ajax in Visual Studio 2008.
Support for Nested Master Pages
Again, this is a wonderful new feature. Nested Master Page is not new in Visual Studio 2008. Visual Studio 2005 also supported nested master pages. However, the new addition in Visual Studio 2008 is its rich design time support – now it is possible to edit nested master – a feature not available in the earlier version of this IDE.
Organize Imports or Usings
This is another excellent new feature that allows you to eliminate the unnecessary namespaces included in your code. To use this feature, select all the namespaces, right click, and, select “Remove Unused Usings” or, “Sort Usings” or, “Remove and Sort” depending on what you need. A cool new feature indeed!
Support for Debugging .NET Framework Library Code
This is a great new feature. You can now debug the source code of even the .NET Framework Library methods – a much awaited feature indeed!
Support for inbuilt Silverlight SDK
According to Microsoft, “Microsoft® Silverlight™ is a cross-browser, cross-platform, and cross-device plug-in for delivering the next generation of media experiences and rich interactive applications for the Web.” In Visual Studio 2005 we used to install Silverlight Library separately. Now with Visual Studio 2008 you have the Silverlight Library inbuilt so that you can create your Silverlight applications seamlessly.
Support for inbuilt C++ SDK
Now C++ SDK is inbuilt with Visual Studio 2008 and configurable which was so difficult to download and configure before Visual Studio 2008 for developing windows based applications.