Are you ready for VS2010?

This is pretty much a repost from what I posted on our internal blog at work, but thought it might be useful here too:

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As you probably know, VS2010 launches Monday, April 12, 2010. First, the good news. If you don’t know a thing about VS2008 or VS2010, virtually everything you do today, is done pretty much the same way in VS2010 and .NET 4.0. The interface is a little snazzed-up, but aside from that – there is little change to what you do today.

However, there has been truckloads of new features and functionality that have been added like integrated unit testing, language extensions, LINQ, automatic properties (for VB.NET too, in .NET 4.0), etc, etc. So, how do you keep up with it? How do you stay current with this new technology.

Well, like most things – it’s easier to do incrementally. Below are some places to start, that you may want to consider adding to your regular day. Consider adding recurring tasks in your Outlook to remind you to check these things?

Blogs:
First, I would recommend everyone start out by checking out http://blogs.msdn.com/ a couple of times a day. This is the aggregator for *ALL* Microsoft bloggers. Over the course of a week or so, you will start to see a pattern of bloggers who regularly have pretty interesting posts. Well, interesting to you, I mean.

When you find them, start watching their blog posts! If you are doing this from work, and use Outlook 2007, you can subscribe to their RSS feed, which makes this very easy. You can scan the headlines, and mark them read. If something stands out – you can double-click to read it. If you are doing this from home, there are many, many RSS readers to choose from. I just use Windows Live Mail as my reader.

As the bare-bones though, Scott Guthrie (Scott Gu) seems to be the de facto leader of .NET in terms of communication, so you may want to explicitly check out his blog. Also, Scott Hanselman and Somasegar also are frequent posters and typically have interesting things to say about .NET and Visual Studio.

Twitter:
Twitter isn’t just about obnoxious celebrities telling you when they are on their way to grocery store or that they lost a sock in the dryer, it can actually be quite useful! In fact, again – @scottgu, @shanselman, @ch9 (MSDN’s Channel 9) and sometimes @brada (Brad Abrams) regularly tweet and most times it’s not links to things they blogged about – it’s new/different links or content.

Also, once logged in, if you just search for "Microsoft" on Twitter, there are several dozen official "twits" 🙂 (err, people who tweet). Many are departments within Microsoft that publish information that isn’t made available anywhere else. This is definitely worth checking out, I’ve gotten a couple of good links from this.

Webcasts:
Lastly, you may not be aware that there are free webcasts going on all-the-time, from Microsoft. Most are 1-hour sessions here and there, on a specific topic. But how do you find out about them? There’s a website:

MSDN Events and Webcasts

and specifically, here is the webcasts site:

MSDN Webcasts

Go to the Advanced Search on this page, and choose just Live Webcasts and Visual Studio 2010 for example.

I haven’t had a chance to do this for a few months, but I used to have a recurring task in my Outlook that reminded me every other Monday to go through here, look for interesting webcasts, sign up for them, and put them in my calendar. For the most part, the sessions occurred somewhere around lunchtime (11am-1pm ET), it seems. So I’d end up catching 1 or 2 webcasts a week, typically.

Summary:
The point here, as professionals it’s important for us to stay current in our technology and our "craft". In our particular case, there is a LOT to keep up with – so hopefully staying current can be and will be, part of your regular day. These are some of the easier things to do. If you make time in your day to check twitter, check your RSS feeds, and periodically check for webcasts – over time you’ll find you can stay current with a reasonable amount of effort.

I hope this helps!

Posted in Professional Development, Uncategorized

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