Playing with Visual Web Developer 2008

I got the RTM bits of Visual Studio 2008 Express Editions yesterday and I was eager to play around with Visual Web Developer (VWD). Like what I have said in my previous blog, Microsoft has released an all-in-one Express Edition DVD. This is in contrast with the previous release (Express Edition 2005) where all the SKUs are in a single CD. Nonetheless, it’s pretty much understandable that this newer version has to have a larger size as it targets 3 frameworks: 2.0, 3.0, 3.5.

After burning the ISO, I immediately installed VWD.  It’s an autoplay DVD and the screen looks like this:

vs08_00.png

Since SQL Server 2008 hasn’t shipped RTM, the database server included in this DVD is SQL Server 2005. The installation screen is pretty much the same with 2005 except that it install more components aside from VWD itself, the 3.5 framework (and perhaps if you don’t have the two other frameworks, it will install them as well), MSDN Express.

vs08_01.png

To note specifically are item #2, 3, 5 relative from the ones displayed in the image above. VWD 2008 also installs the Silverlight 1.0 runtime (and SDK) if it’s not installed yet in your system. After all the installation hullabaloo, the default screen of VWD 2008 is found below:

vwd08_home.png

(click on the thumbnail to see full view)

I remember in one of the demos of VS 2008 that I attended before, I saw that there’s a screen that will allow you to choose what framework are you targetting. However, on my dismay, I didn’t see these on the new website screen of VWD 2008. Instead, it creates by default a .NET 3.5 version of ASP.NET.

vs08_04_a.png

After selecting the target path of your web application, the default screen appears:

vs08_05.png

(click on the thumbnail to see full picture) In the new layout, you’ll also see the new tabs for CSS support.

Notice that you’ll see the new Data Controls for .NET 3.5 in your toolbox:

vs08_07_a.png

You might have a question like: “How to change the target framework of your web application?” Here are the steps:

1. Right click on your project in the Solution Explorer and select “Property Pages”

vs08_03.png

2. A window will show up and go to the “Build Option”. From there you will see your preferred target framework for your web application. Select one and press “Ok”.

vs08_07_b.png

You’ve seen earlier that by default, the new .NET 3.5 controls are in your toolbox. When you change your target framework to 2.0, version specific controls will be removed from the toolbox. Should you try to run these applications, it will create an exception saying that these controls aren’t recognized by ASP.NET.

So here’s my share of some tidbits of VWD 2008. I’m still playing this one around and I’ll share more of the future of some tips that might help you.

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