Visual Studio 2008 SP1 & SQL Server 2008 released

Earlier this week, Microsoft announced the RTM of Visual Studio 2008 Service Pack 1 & SQL Server 2008. These are available for MSDN subscribers for download. SQL Server 2008 evaluation versions are available for a 180 day trial (The SQL Express Edition is freely available for download). Service pack 1 for Visual Studio 2008 and the .NET framework 3.5 is available here.

Some caution while installing the Visual Studio 2008 SP1 if you had the SP1 Beta installed. A cleanup utility is available here which removes any Visual Studio KBs installed. The readme file has some detailed information about installing the service pack.

So, whats new in these releases?

SQL Server 2008 adds enhancements to the database engine, new T-SQL programmability features, enhancements to Integration Services, Reporting & Analysis services have been rewritten & no longer require IIS, Powershell is now integrated and entirely new management feature [Performance Studio] has been added to monitor speed and efficiency of databases. Microsoft has also announced the availability of Beta exams on SQL Server 2008 (I’ll post about these exams later).

The Visual Studio & .NET framework service packs contain a number of enhancements targeted for developers, improving the productivity while using Visual Studio as well as ehancing several existing features in ASP.NET, WPF, and other technologies. Visual Studio (with SP1) now has better javascript intellisense support, support for classic ASP intellisense & support for refactoring WCF services in ASP.NET projects. ASP.NET enhancements include dynamic data, URL routing engine (used for MVC and dynamic data support) & AJAX script combining (asp:ScriptManager can now be configured to combin all the configured scripts & sent to the client as a single script). Several new windows forms controls including vector shapes and a datarepeater have been added. Windows Presentation Foundation has had several improvements and enhancements, detailed discussion of them should perhaps form the content of different post. Most notable amongst the WPF improvements include performance and data improvements (20-45% without any code changes – that’s very encouraging!), addition of shader effects, DirectX Interop [Dr. WPF has an article on Codeproject on this], etc. Visual Studio now supports navigation to definition of items declared in XAML.

.NET Framework 3.5 Enhancements Training Kit

The .NET framework 3.5 enhancements training kit contains material to help you understand and explore the new enhancements. This kit is available for download here. The kit is an enhacement to the very useful Visual Studio 2008 training kit.

I am excited like any other .NET developer about the release! I look forward to exploring the feature improvements and enhancements and blog about any interesting bits that I find useful to share.