Tonight I was lucky enough to have a few hours of free time between work and family activities.So I decided to take some of the next generation of developer tools from Microsoft for a spin. I downloaded and installed the newest Microsoft SQL Server 2012 release and the Visual Studio 11 Beta release. Once I got past those installers, I fired up the Kentico Installation Manager and installed a fresh Kentico CMS 6.0 instance.
I’m happy to report that everything works flawlessly. The default Kentico CMS solution was effortlessly upgraded to a Visual Studio 11 compatible solution. The web project itself compiled and built just fine. Running the project via the built in web server, as well as, IIS Express worked without a hiccup.
As expected SQL Server 2012 brings many new features and performance improvements to the table. You can read more on what’s new in SQL Server 2012 here. I’ll be honest, I don’t see any earth shaking changes that would directly affect a Kentico CMS installation in the new version. One minor new Database Engine improvement I saw that does relate to Kentico CMS is that you can now rebuild Indexes online with the following data types, XML, varchar(max), nvarchar(max), and varbinary(max). Previously columns of this type could be rebuilt but would require some downtime to do so. Kentico CMS uses the last two data types in that list often. So that should speed up maintenance windows and/or possibly prevent them.
The Visual Studio 11 Beta release comes with the newest version of the ASP.Net Framework, version 4.5 Beta. The new ASP.Net 4.5 Beta framework includes a ton of new features. One new feature that jumped right out at me because it relates to an issue I have had with Kentico CMS, is the new ability to accept unvalidated request data when request validation is enabled. This is a typical scenario anytime an ASP.Net application such as Kentico CMS utilizes a WYSIWYG editor. Users tend to find a way to send back potentially dangerous html markup even when you think they shouldn’t. When the ASP.NET 4.5 comes out we may not have to worry about this anymore.
The new User Interface of Visual Studio is really what stands out in my mind. The development environment has been completely “metro’d” to make it match with the new Windows 8 metro style UI. When I first saw this I was not a huge fan, but as time has went on I am getting used to it, and it is not too bad.
I ran through Kentico CMS 6.0 SP1 for about 30 mins with VS11. It performed very well and the most surprising thing to me was that the entire Kentico CMS solution seemed to build and run faster with VS11 compared to Visual Studio 2010. That is great news because even on a powerful workstation the build time of a Kentico project can be a tad slow. I don’t have scientific proof, but It sure felt faster to me.
Overall I’m excited about the new releases of the tools I use everyday. I’ll leave you with a few screenshots.