We got to preview Whidbey, which is slated for release in 2005. We went over some of the cool new features. For one thing, it loads faster than VS.NET 2003. Some highlights:
1) IDE Interface: The design is little nicer, and when you move a “docked” box, it is translucent and there are some options that come up for docking, which looks nice. It also doesn’t load every toolbar by default, so that is why it loads faster. They want to streamline development for a developers own needs.
2) Form Layout: Some cool things with the form layout, like auto-rulers that line up buttons, labels, textboxes etc. This will make it easier and faster to design a good looking form.
3) “My” Object: VB.NET will introduce the My object. This is pretty much a shortcut for useful namespaces that already exist, like event log, computer information, network functions. This will be nice, because unless you know or stumble upon a namespace, you end up writing custom code to do something that could be done in one line. An example is “pinging” an computer. To do this, you usually have to have a separate assembly or class with like hundreds of lines of code. With the My object you can ping a computer in one line of code!
4) Code Snippets: Many common coding snippets are set up so you can insert them into your program and change a few minor things to get it to work, for example, reading a text file, or writing to a database.
5) Refactoring: This is the process of procedurealizing code. The example they gave was taking over someone else’s program, and you discover it is all one big function. Refactoring allows you make procedures easily and it takes care of the details for you. I don’t see using this that much, but when it does get used, it would be a HUGE timesaver.
6) Line Revision Marks: This looks cool because it shows on the sidebar colors for different states of code revision. Like things that have been saved are green, and things that have been changed are yellow, so you can see what you have changed exactly before you save it.
7) Edit and Continue: In Visual Basic 6.0, you could put in a line break, and then when the program hit that point it would pause, and you could edit some code, and start the execution again from the same spot. In VB.NET 2002, 2003, they took this feature out. Developers must have complained and they added it back in. This is a huge timesaver, especially if it takes 20 minutes to get to a certain point in the execution of a program. Currently you have to wait 20 minutes, make one change, and then re-run the program for 20 minutes to see if it worked.