Visual Studio Team SystemIf you've got a hunger on you for a preview of the next generation of the Visual Studio development envrionment, you can download the Community Tech Preview of Visual Studio code name "Orcas", which is the flavor of the course that will follow Visual Studio 2005.

Orcas was discussed in this morning's TechEd Europe: Developers keynote, and a number of "Orcas"-era technologies - notably the Language Integrated Query Framework, or LINQ, will be presented in detail over the course of this conference.

Orcas is quite a serious feed - it clocks in at about 3.7GB and comes as a Virtual PC image in response on customer feedback - but there is a download manager that will assist you in obtaining it. 

To whet your appetite, here are some of the new feature highlights in this Orcas September CTP, which you can download at this link:

  • LINQ to Objects API - LINQ to Objects API supports queries over any .NET collection, such as arrays and Generic Lists. This API is defined in the System.Query namespaces inside System.Core.dll.
  • Partial C# 3.0 Language Support: This CTP implements some of the new language features of C# 3.0
    • Local variable type interface
    • Lambda expressions
    • Object initializers
  • Partial C# 3.0 IDE Support: In addition to the C# 3.0 language features there is partial IDE support
    • Colorization and New Keywords in Completion List
    • Edit and Continue Rude Edit Detection
  • Partial VB 9.0 Language support
    • Local variable type inference and Option Infer switch
  • VSTS Improvements in load & unit testing such as unit test for devices
  • Device development improvements
    • VSTS integration
    • Access and modify device security configuration from the IDE
  • Enables developers to build and debug a Windows Vista Application
  • Enables Visual Studio Tools for Office developers to build document-level customizations for Word and Excel 2007
  • Enables eMbedded Visual C++ 4.0 developers to use Visual Studio Code Name “Orcas” to build their existing applications
  • .NET Framework improvements such as:
    • New managed add-in model enables developers to add a version-resilient extensibility model to their products.
    • Support for time zone conversion, enumeration and serialization, including cases where Daylight Saving Time rules change over time.
    • Reflection in Partial Trust, enabling sand box scenarios for all applications that depend on these features.
    • The ability to control the garbage collector’s latency mode
    • Improved CLR ThreadPool micro-performance and throughput for worker and IO completion

p.s. 'Ocras' is the Irish word for hungry, or so I'm told :)