It’s official:  Visual Studio 2010 Beta1 has shipped!  Check out this page for the official product information or download it (free!) here.

So what’s new for the Editor in Beta1?  We’ve made significant improvements since the CTP, including better stability and easier extension development.  You’ll also notice the return of many of your favorite features:

  • The redesigned Code Outlining feature that the Editor team and VS General Manager Jason Zander blogged about over the past few weeks
  • The Track Changes margin, which uses colors to show the changes made in your file
  • Drag & Drop code editing, copying, and pasting
  • RTF cut/copy/paste, which allows RTF formatting to persist on copying and pasting text into another application
  • Incremental Search (Ctrl+I), which refines your search terms as you type them
  • Visible Whitespace (Ctrl+E, Ctrl+S), which shows visual glyphs for different types of whitespace, e.g. dots for spaces, arrows for tabs
  • A new default font, Consolas, specifically designed for working with code

And that’s just the Editor.  In the VS 2010 Beta, your window layout is more customizable than ever with floating document tabs and expanded multi-monitor support in the VS Shell.  You can search for project templates, find new templates online, and download content from the revamped New Project Dialog.  You can even use the new Extension Manager to download extensions from within Visual Studio and publish any extensions you write.  The list of improvements goes on and on – for more details about what’s new for Beta1 in VS Platform and beyond, take a look at JasonZ’s screenshot-filled blog post.

Now that Beta1 is available for download, there are a few frequently-asked questions:
Q:  Is it ‘safe’ to install VS 2010 Beta1 on my machine?
A:  Yes!  We’ve tested side-by-side scenarios, so installing the beta on a machine with VS 2008 installed is fine.  The beta also supports uninstall and should leave VS 2008 and your machine in working order afterward.  You can install VS 2010 Beta1 on a VPC if you prefer, though you will notice slower performance than if you run VS on your local machine.  And please remember that however you install, this is pre-release software.  The VS 2010 Beta1 readme documents major known issues, but it’s not guaranteed to be an exhaustive list.

Q:  Can I install on Windows 7?
A:  Yes!  Installation of VS 2010 Beta1 on the Windows 7 RC is supported, so go right ahead.  We don’t recommend installing Beta1 on the Windows 7 beta, though, so please upgrade to the Win7 RC before installing VS 2010.

Q:  Is there a VS 2010 SDK?
A:  Yes!  It’s available for download here.  I highly recommend the SDK, as it includes a lot of additional documentation and sample code.  It’s a great place to get started with Editor extensibility.

Once you’ve downloaded the VS 2010 Beta, we’d love to hear from you!  You can post feedback on the Beta1 forums or file a bug for any problems you find.  And as always, you can contact the Editor team directly by posting a comment or using the Email link.  No matter how you do it, I hope you’ll let us know what you think.

Enjoy the Beta!

Brittany Behrens
Program Manager, VS Platform Team