27 May 2009 by Stuart Cam
If you haven't yet noticed .NET 4.0 and Visual Studio 2010 are out of CTP and into Beta. Bleeding-edge developers might want to download and take them for a spin.
There are quite a few new features in .NET 4.0, the most interesting for me are:
- Task Parallel Library (TPL). Now a first class citizen in the framework, the Parallel FX (PFX) library makes writing multithreaded code a breeze. I had the opportunity to attend a talk on the PFX library with Joe Duffy at TechEd, Sydney 2008 . It's nice to see this library finally make it into the BCL.
- Dynamic Language Runtime (DLR). Dynamic languages, such as IronPython and IronRuby, now make 'official' status in the .NET framework. C# implements a new dynamic keyword to interop with dynamic languages. Here is a great video on Channel 9 with Eric Lippert and the C# compiler developers where they talk about C#'s static viewpoint on dynamic typing.
- Code Contracts & Pex. Remember Spec#? the superset of C# with design-by-contract features? Well, the team in Microsoft Research have decided to bundle all of the idioms into a .NET library, welcome the new namespace System.Diagnostics.Contracts. This video at PDC 2008 gives a great overview of C# design-by-contract programming, and a wonderful demonstration of Pex. Download Code Contracts for Visual Studio 2008.
The IDE is also gradually making the transition to WPF making the whole visual experience a lot more pleasing. I wonder how far the customisation will be taken?
.NET 4.0 doesn't quite have the same impact on me (personally) that .NET 3.5 had (I am still blown away by just how powerful and brilliant LINQ is). That said it's really exciting to see Microsoft taking the framework forward and offering their take on the future of Windows programming. Take a look at how .NET is changing.