On November 19, 2007, Microsoft released Visual Studio 2008. Scott Guthrie outlines some of the Visual Studio 2008 key features.
Some reasons on why you may want to upgrade.
Key VS 2008 Features
- Full tool support in VS 2008 for WF, WCF, and WPF
Target builds for .Net 2.0, 3.0 or 3.5
Java Script intellisense and richer Java Script debugging
Nested ASP.Net master pages
Continued support for web site and web application project models
ASP.NET AJAX support
ASP.NET 3.5 ListView control
LINQ (language integrated query) support
Intellisense code editing improvements
Key .Net 3.5 Features
- LINQ support
- ASP.NET AJAX
- New WCF Protocols (including AJAX, JSON, REST, POX, RSS, ATOM, and several new WS-* standards)
- New base class library features
Silverlight 1.1 tools and Web Deployment project add-ins are not available at this time.
Microsoft released .Net 3.0 for VS 2005 earlier. This added support for new Microsoft technologies for WPF, WCF, and WWF for the existing VS 2005 IDE. Although the technology was there, the lack of typical IDE tools made the use of some of these very very awkward (how fun is it to really modify XAML files directly). WPF really needed Microsoft Expression and WCF needed hand generation via tools of the proxy clients and hand configuration of configuration settings. The integration of these technologies into the VS 2008 IDE really brings these back in line with the typical VS.NET development environment.
Some releases like VS 2003 to 2005 require significant migration steps. When this happens it requires significant development time, expense, and planning and that makes the update process painful and slower to adopt. The most painful step in the process is the number of hours it takes to download the DVD ISO image from the MSDN web site. The first pass is that existing windows forms applications will migrate somewhat painlessly, web application projects remain to be tested.
There should be no hesitation in updating to this release. If you update, you can still target builds for .Net 2.0, 3.0, and 3.5, so you aren't forced to update anything from a deployment perspective just yet and yet you get the benefit of the updated IDE.
If you haven't tried the Microsoft tools, there are also a set of Visual Studio Express editions that are free.