Yesterday, one our developers attended the MSDN Event: Visual Studio 2008, "Astoria", and Silverlight that was done locally here in Raleigh. Russell Fustino (of Microsoft) was the main speaker. There were about 200 people attending the session. As some of you might already know, VS2008 has some new features. We got a glimpse of these during this event.

One new feature is the multi-targeting. With VS2008, you can build your project targeting the 2.0, 3.0, or 3.5 .NET framework. So you don’t need to have multiple versions of Visual Studio to build your project to target different versions of the .NET framework.

Another new feature is the Office development support. There is much more Office development support in VS 2008. It looks as if there are some people working in that area. When Russell asked how many people are working on Office development, about 20 or so people raised their hands.

The third, and we think really exciting, new feature is the Intellisense support for JavaScript and better JavaScript debugging. ASP.NET developers are definitely going to be happy about that.

"Astoria" provides developers a way to create and consume data services for the web. You can expose your data through HTTP without much coding. It is good for an intranet application. But, it will not be very useful for Internet applications, because it does not have any built-in security support.

The last topic covered was Silverlight. Russell showed several demos and talked about the difference between Silverlight 1.0 and Silverlight 1.1. Silverlight 1.0 runtime install is about 1MB. Silverlight 1.1 runtime install is about 4MB. Silverlight 1.1 is in alpha. It will be available next spring. We are thinking about building our Silverlight version of FarPoint Spread based on version 1.1. (Feel free to let us know what you think about that.)

We also saw some of our friends from the local Triangle .NET user group there, which was fun. Overall, we found the meeting quite helpful. Microsoft should be more aware now of the .NET presence here in the Raleigh-Durham (Triangle) area.

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