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Microsoft Pre-release Software Visual Studio Code Name “Orcas” – October Community Technology Preview (CTP) October 31, 2006

Posted by Patricio in Orcas, Software Engineering.

Visual Studio Code Name “Orcas” delivers on Microsoft’s vision of smart client applications by enabling developers to rapidly create connected applications that deliver the highest quality rich user experiences. This new version enables any size organization to rapidly create more secure, manageable, and more reliable applications that take advantage of Windows Vista and the 2007 Office System. By building these new types of applications, organizations will find it easier than ever before to capture and analyze information so that they can make effective business decisions.

This download is the October 2006 Community Technology Preview of Microsoft Visual Studio Code-Named “Orcas”.

Note: This CTP is available only as a Virtual PC image. You will need Virtual PC or Virtual Server to run this image. Depending on your hardware the download files make take between 30-60 minutes to decompress.

This CTP targets early adopters of the Microsoft technology, platform, and tools offerings. It enables developers to experience the upcoming toolset and underlying platform improvements. We designed this release to enable developers try out new technology and product changes, but not to build production systems. This limitation is fully covered in the EULA that accompanies this CTP.

The highlights of this CTP include:

  • ADO.NET 3.0 Advancements
    • Enhanced the existing .Net Data Provider to work with the new features in ADO.Net 3.0 such as LINQ and object services
    • Database and application object isolation assists in minimizing the impact of database schema changes in existing applications
    • Developers can build can create scripts as actual programs –instead of VBS scripts- that are still completely self-contained in a single file and can be trivially modified, compiled and executed in any environment that has .NET installed.
    • eSQL language support enables developers to build applications that provide users with an ad-hoc query capability.
  • LINQ over XML (XLinq)
    • Core functionality of the XLinq API such as load, modify, and save XML documents
    • Annotation support with a lightweight, typed, but general purpose annotation mechanism that can be used to associate information such as line numbers, schema types, and application objects with specific nodes in an XLinq tree.
  • Multi-targeting
    • Support multitargeting within the IDE by enabling Visual Studio to leverage MSBuild using the tasks and targets that were shipped in Visual Studio 2005. Additionally, command line solutions will build using the toolset appropriate for the .NET Framework version that is being targeted.
  • Improved 64bit application working set
    • On 64bit systems better code layout in system assemblies will result in improved working set.
  • Lightweight reader/writer lock with deadlock-free upgrade support.
    • The new System.Threading.ReaderWriterLockSlim class supports basic read and write locks, allowing for better scalability for read-only concurrent worker scenarios. As its name implies, this lock performs anywhere from 2x to 5x better than the existing ReaderWriterLock class, and scales better on multi-processor and multi-core machines. This type also supports upgradeable-read support: if code needs to inspect some state before deciding to acquire the write-lock, upgradeable-reads allow concurrency-safe reading with an optional deadlock-free upgrade to write. Recursion is also disabled by default, helping to write correct code, with an optional recursive mode turned on at lock instantiation time.
  • A high performance trace listener which logs XML to disk in the event schema.
    • The System.Diagnostics.EventSchemaTraceListener is the first listener in the namespace which is highly tuned for logging performance. Similar to the XMLWriterTraceListender, this trace listener logs XML to disk. In particular, this type logs in the event schema, which is shared by some other new technologies. This tracelistener has performance which is drastically improved over previous logging tracelisteners, especially on machines with multiple processors. Additionally, this is the first trace listener which allows many different disk logging options, such as circular logging across multiple files
  • Getting VSTO and/or controls off machine policy/legacy policy migration
    • Developers of managed browser controls can now create manifests for their controls and Authenticode sign the manifests. An enterprise can then choose to trust the controls by manifest signature, rather than modifying CAS policy. This provides a bridge from the CAS policy trust model to the trusted publisher model in Orcas.
  • Security Platform Parity – Suite B support: AES
    • Cryptography developers can now use the FIPS-certified implementations of advanced SHA hashing algorithms and AES encryption algorithm in managed code. These classes follow the same familiar patterns as the existing cryptography algorithms, making it easy for developers to use the new classes right away.
  • A new date time data structure that can specify an exact point in time relative to the UTC time zone.
    • The current DateTime is insufficient at specifying an exact point in time. DateTimeOffset represents a date time with an offset. It is not meant to be a replacement for DateTime; it should be used in scenarios involving absolute points in time. DateTimeOffset includes most of the functionality of the current DateTime API and allows seamless conversion to DateTime as well.
  • New IO types that expose almost all pipe functionality provided by Windows.
    • Pipes can be used to achieve inter-process communication (IPC) between any process running on the same machine, or on any other windows machine within a network. We’ve added managed support for both anonymous pipes and named pipes. Anyone familiar with streams should be comfortable using these new APIs to achieve IPC.
  • A new high performance set collection.
    • HashSet is a new generic collection that has been added to the System.Collections.Generic namespace. It is an unordered collection that contains unique elements. In addition to the standard collection operations, HashSet provides standard set operations such as union, intersection, and symmetric difference.


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