Yesterday at TechEd, someone asked me if we had one-page documents that explained:

  • What's new in SQL Server 2005?
  • What's new in Visual Studio 2005?
  • What's new in the .NET Framework 2.0?

In other words, what are the features that will make her team beg to move from SQL Server 2000 and Visual Studio 2003?  I know that there are soooo many improvements and new features in these products (literally years in the making), but have we done a good enough job enumerating the benefits of these new products and technologies?  I wasn't aware of such one-page documents, so I started digging to see what I could find online.

For SQL Server 2005, I found this document.  (A little longer than one page!)

For Visual Studio 2005, there's the new Team System, which delivers tons of new functionality, and the new Express Editions.  But the Standard and Professional Editions have countless improvements for developer productivity, of course.  For the IDE, the closest "What's New?" list I've found is the oddly-titled "Where Did My Icons Go?" article.  It's not mentioned, but for me, my favorite feature is a set of IntelliSense improvements that makes it (finally!) even better than VB6 IntelliSense!  (By the way, this post gives a great overview of all the Visual Studio editions.)

But we haven't even touched on language features yet!  C# now has anonymous methods, iterators, partial classes, and moreVB has the "My" feature, Upgrade Wizard enhancements, operator overloading, and other language enhancementsC++ has a ton of new features, and an overhauled syntax that addresses issues with the deprecated managed extensions and makes C++ interop better than ever.

Then there's the .NET Framework itself, whose improvements (usually) apply across all languages.  Windows Forms includes great new controls and ClickOnce deployment.  ASP.NET also has tons of new controls and RAD features.  See the TechEd 2005 slides and demos here for a good overview.  ADO.NET has a number of improvements.  The CLR has Edit & Continue, 64-bit support, generics, performance and reliability improvements, more complete interoperability, new classes and members throughout the base class libraries: generic collections, ACL Support, Serial Port support, console enhancements, etc.  Here's a summary of some of the .NET Framework 2.0 improvements over 1.1: authenticated stream classes (NegotiateStream and SslStream), FTP support, etc. etc. etc.

From my viewpoint, this information was too hard to dig up.  And I'm only scratching the surface!  (In fact, I probably omitted some large areas.)  I'm not in marketing, so maybe this is already in the works, but I'd love to see 1 (or 2, 3, 4, ...) pagers on the most compelling new features in these products.

Have you been taking early looks at these products?

What is your most compelling new feature?