Tools and Architecture
In the previous chapter we gave a brief outline of some of the new and exciting features in ASP.NET 2.0, and now it's time to dig into them a bit deeper. In this chapter we're going to look at how development has been eased in two main areas. The first is the design time experience. With ASP.NET 1.x you had the choice of Visual Studio .NET or Web Matrix for development. With ASP.NET 2.0 this is still the case, but Visual Studio 2005 is greatly improved for ASP.NET developers.
In addition to the full version of Visual Studio .NET, there is also Visual Web Developer Express Edition, a lightweight, streamlined edition of Visual Studio 2005 targeted specifically at Web developers learning or evaluating ASP.NET and available as a separate product. The full version of Visual Studio 2005 is aimed at professional and corporate developers, while the Express Edition is targeted primarily at nonprofessionals and therefore doesn't contain the complete set of features that the full product has. However, it shouldn't be dismissed entirely as a hobbyist product because its feature set is still impressive. We'll look at the differences between the two products, but by and large most of what we present throughout the book will work in both products. To avoid excessive use of acronyms and repeated product names, we'll refer to only a single product: Visual Studio 2005. Where specific features aren't supported in the Express Edition, we will make that clear.
The second main area we'll cover is compilation. It may not seem like much of a burden in the current release, especially when using Visual Studio 2005, but there are several ways in which compilation has been improved, including a better model for code separation, centralized code directories with automatic compilation, and pre-compilation of sites to improve speed and deployment.