There’s a lot going on with this release and I thought I’d do a big rollup post with lots of details and context to help you find your way to the information and downloads you’re looking for.

Download Visual Studio 2010

First, if you want it, go download Visual Studio 2010 now. If you’re an MSDN Subscriber or WebSiteSpark/BizSpark member, you can download the final release now. If not, you can download a free trial or one of the free Express editions.

There’s an excellent page on MSDN that’s cherry-picked and categorized the best VS2010 content, but I’ve included my own list below.

What’s new in Visual Studio 2010 and 4?

Loads. Here’s the things I’m digging most.

Also, there’s a FREE e-Book called Moving to Visual Studio 2010 that you might want to check out. It’s an excerpt of a larger book that’ll be coming from MSPress later this summer. It takes a interesting approach as it has three parts, moving from VS2003, moving from VS2005, and moving from VS2008. It’s clever, actually. You start in the book on the version that you’re currently on. If you’re not familiar with versions like VS2008, you start at the beginning. Otherwise, you jump ahead. When you’re done, you’re ready to move to VS2010.

and Visual Studio 2010

When a new product launches, MSDN launches with updates and new features of its own. Here’s a few things the folks at MSDN have been doing to support the launch.

  • Better MSDN Search – Most people likely use a search engine to search MSDN, but if you do search from within MSDN, there are a number of new improvements. You can refine by source, saying only search blogs, or only search the library. There’s also an OpenSearch provider so you can search the MSDN Library directly from within Windows itself.MSDN Search also includes Metadata from the results to help you find right thing. For example, if a search turns up a CodePlex project, I can see type-specific details within search results:
  • MSDN Subscriber Downloads Improvements - There’s been lots of UX improvements including as-you-type filtering as well as filtering by platform (x64, etc) and language. I will very likely not need to download Quechua Windows, so now I don’t need to see it.
  • MSDN Library in Lightweight and ScriptFree - You can choose between three flavors of MSDN Library, Classic (the one with the treeview on the side), Lightweight (what I use) or ScriptFree. ScriptFree is great for mobile devices, and it’s lightning fast anywhere. Lightweight is the new default and I like it because it features community annotations made to the library prominently on the left side as well as a tabbed interface for code sample languages.

  • Integration of all VS sites - There were too many developer “centers” on MSDN and folks were getting lost. Many centers have been conflated into a clearer, more logical layout. The Visual Studio, Team System, and VS Extensibility Centers were merged into the single Visual Studio Center. There’s a lot more focus on discoverability in the Visual Studio Center.
  • Video Improvements – There’s thousands of How Do I? videos on MSDN and they tell me they are improving the backend, the player and the metadata around them. The player is larger now, you can share videos from MSDN on your favorite social networking site, rate them, leave comments, and explore related videos.
  • Profile Activities – User Profiles are integrated between sites and you can see your activity and points as you move through the system. For example, here’s Arnie Rowland’s profile. You can see his activity in the forums and galleries as well as his ranking and points as a community contributor.