April 13, 2010, 4:46 PM — As a daily user of Visual Studio from its inception, and of Visual C++ and Visual InterDev before that, I have been following the evolution of Microsoft's development environment quite closely. In the Visual Studio 2010 IDE, Microsoft has taken several large steps away from its legacy code. That was a gutsy and potentially risky move on the part of the Visual Studio team, but one that worked out well and will lay the foundation for future product growth.
Visual Studio 2010 is a major upgrade in functionality and capability from its predecessor. It includes some major rewriting of core features, as well as many new features. Developers, architects, and testers will all find areas where the new version makes their jobs easier. Despite the higher pricing for this version, most serious Microsoft-oriented shops will upgrade to Visual Studio 2010 and never look back.
Raising the bar for IDEsThe most obvious large step is revamping the core editing and designer views to use the Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF). I covered this and the related improvements in the UI and debugger in my review of Visual Studio 2010 Beta 1. Initially there were some performance penalties associated with this, but now almost everything I do in the Visual Studio 2010 IDE happens faster than it would in Visual Studio 2008, even columnar text selection. I particularly like the navigation improvements in the code editor. Both the "Navigate to" and "Call Hierarchy" features have proven invaluable to me recently as I learned a large C++ code base.