I’m happy to announce that Beta 2 is now ready for download!  MSDN subscribers may download the beta immediately with general availability on Wednesday.  Beta 2 comes with a “go live” license which means you can start using the product for production related work (see the license agreement with the product for more details).

I have a few tutorials queued up which I will be publishing over the next several weeks; stay tuned.

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The biggest change you’ll see with these release is the change to the SKU line up.  The goal with the new line up is to reduce the number of SKU’s you have to think about and install and make it a very simple set:

  • Visual Studio Express:  the free Express SKUs for C++, C#, VB, and Web have been updated and released with this version and give you the basics for writing applications
  • Microsoft Visual Studio 2010 Professional with MSDN: professional development tools as you are used to today with the addition of source control integration, extensibility, etc.
  • Microsoft Visual Studio 2010 Premium with MSDN: Premium has everything in Professional plus advanced development (including profiling and debugging), advanced database support, coded UI testing, etc.  Rather than buying multiple “Team” SKUs, you can now get this combination of features in one box.
  • Microsoft Visual Studio 2010 Ultimate with MSDN: Ultimate has everything in Premium plus additional advanced features for developers, testers, and architects including features like Intellitrace (formerly Historical Debugging), the new architecture tools (UML, discovery), etc.  All of the scenarios we’ve talked about are supported with this version of the product.

In addition to these changes, Team Foundation Server (TFS) is now available with all versions of Visual Studio 2010.  You can get started with TFS Basic and work up to full multi-sever support, SharePoint integration, etc as your needs grow.

The new “Test Elements” SKU is designed for testers who don’t need to write code.  You can manage your test cases, work items, and do manual testing using the SKU.  Because everything is integrated through TFS, you can continue to collaborate with the entire team.

The UI has been refreshed with a new start page that gives you quick links to common tasks or background on programming tasks.  I have TFS Basic installed on my laptop; you can see Team Explorer support for source control, work items, and builds:

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Beta 2 now ships with several new project types we’ve mentioned before such as Windows Azure (under “Cloud Service”) and SharePoint, all available for C# and Visual Basic programmers:

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In addition support for Silverlight 3 and ASP.NET MVC 2 are included in the build.

As an engineering team, the goal for Beta 2 was to work very hard on performance, stability, and the integration of the feature set.  Our focus is now transitioning to getting your feedback on the product and preparing for the release candidate (RC) milestone which is our final milestone before shipping the product.  Please download the beta and send us your feedback.

Enjoy!

Jason