This week's big news is the release of the Visual Studio 2010 Beta 1. Hope you enjoy the coverage, and let us know if you have any questions about it.
Visual Studio 2010 and .NET 4.0 Beta 1 shipping
For those with MSDN memberships, Visual Studio 2010 and .NET 4.0 Beta 1 are available. .NET 4.0's "big story" as far as I can see is that it brings C# and VB.NET nearly 100% in feature parity. Visual Studio 2010 finally seems to be pulling together all of the pieces of functionality in the .NET universe from the last few years (parallel processing, Silverlight, WCF, WPF, Entity Framework, etc.) into a smooth experience, instead of having these items feeling bolted on (at best) like they do now. Here are some details on what else is coming out around this announcement.
Silverlight support improved in Visual Studio 2010
Silverlight is much improved in Visual Studio 2010 as expected. Most important is that the visual designer now has the same level of capability as it does for Web Forms and Win Forms.
IronPython 2.6 for .NET 4.0 Beta 1
Beta 1 of IronPython 2.6 for .NET 4.0 just came out. It works to implement the Python 2.6 stuff (nearly all of them are there, and it also adds ctypes), it runs under the Dynamic Language Runtime, and its objects and types can be called from C# and VB.NET as dynamic objects.
F# is in Visual Studio 2010
Continuing the march to make F# an equal in the .NET world, F# is included out of the box in Visual Studio 2010 Beta 1 (and from here on out, too). In addition, the May F# CTP has been released. F# has been significantly improved. Microsoft has worked hard to make the libraries more comprehensive, powerful, and standardized; F# also has improved debugging, much better integration with Visual Studio, and (drumroll) preliminary documentation. Speaking of which, here is a good collection of learning F# resources. I really look forward to seeing more of F# in the future!
Parallel Extensions built into Visual Studio 2010
The Parallel Extensions Library is built right into Visual Studio 2010/.NET 4.0. In addition, Visual Studio's debugging tools now "get" the "Tasks" concept and have much improved support for debugging multithreaded applications.
Research shows the weakness of "secret questions" for password retrieval/resetting
Technology Review has a must-read article for anyone working on an application that involves user accounts. There's a study out about the "secret questions" used to reset passwords (you know, "what's your pet's name?" or "what city were you born in?"). Apparently, these questions are easily guessed by others. Heck, I bet New York City or Los Angeles works for 5% of the population for that second question. To make it worse, many of the answers are forgotten by the people who actually should know the answer because they often give flippant responses to the questions. I'm going to file this under, "Gee, I should have thought of that."
Engine Yard offers five tips to scale Rails...
Ruby's gotten a bad reputation for scalability and performance, thanks to Twitter's persistent issues. Engine Yard offers five tips to help your Rails applications scale better. Some are common sense tips or things that will be familiar to ASP.NET and J2EE developers, but it is good to see the information presented here in the context of Rails.
... and takes over the maintenance of Ruby 1.8.6
Engine Yard is now the maintainers of Ruby 1.8.6. I think it's good to see Ruby getting some corporate boost up, although I can understand why people might be concerned. I think it's interesting, especially since Engine Yard is also working on Rubinius, an alternative Ruby VM, and the Merb half of the Ruby/Merb merger. I get the impression that a substantial portion of the serious brainpower within the Ruby community (in terms of the people working on "things that matter" such as the Ruby language, Rails, etc.) are at Engine Yard.
Microsoft InkSeine goes beta
Microsoft Research has been working on a tool called InkSeine that just got released as a beta. The concept is a bit tricky, but it looks like it is a gesture system that taps into the Tablet PC/UMPC touch interface to allow queries. In other words, instead of having a user get the input into a specific search box, they can write the search query on the screen and circle it to have the query execute. This can be used in a number of ways to allow for some very innovative and interesting user interfaces.
85 reasons Web developers/designers mangle SEO
As the tough economic conditions continue, it makes little sense to be handing big bucks to Google and other search engines for paid ads, or to an SEO consultant to improve the site. But it happens all of the time because Web developers and designers are sill writing Web pages that do not work well with search engines. Jill Whalen at Search Engine Land has a list of 85 misconceptions that are common amongst Web developers and designers that harm their sites' search engine visibility.
Mozilla's Jetpack makes developing Firefox add-ons easier
Micro Focus leadership change
Micro Focus announced that Ken Powell, formally a major executive at SAP, is now the President of North American Operations.
J.JaDisclosure of Justin's industry affiliations: Justin James has a working arrangement with Microsoft to write an article for MSDN Magazine. He also has a contract with Spiceworks to write product buying guides.
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Justin James is the Lead Architect for Conigent.