Microsoft 'rogue faction' adds better HTML5, JavaScript support to Visual Studio

Microsoft has begun delivering some of the additional HTML5 tooling for Visual Studio programmers that company officials said would be coming some time this year.
Written by Mary Jo Foley, Senior Contributing Editor

Microsoft has begun delivering some of the additional HTML5 tooling for Visual Studio programmers that company officials said  would be coming some time this year.

The first of the Web Standards Updates for Visual Studio -- which the Softies are looking to update quarterly in order to keep up with changes from the W3C -- is available for download as of June 16.

Principal Program Manager Lead Scott Hanselman announced the availability his blog today. From Hanselman's post:

"Folks have been asking 'When will VS2010 support HTML5?' I've been saying, jokingly, that the answer is 'yesterday' as there's nothing keeping you from creating HTML5 in Visual Studio or ASP.NET today. However, there's no intellisense and there's lots of squiggly lines that make people uncomfortable. Combine all that with the fact that HTML5 is a moving target, and it's unclear. We've said before that the next version of Visual Studio will have better support HTML5, but what about today?"

A "rogue faction" within Microsoft's  Platform and Tools team is the one delivering the first Web Standards Update. The Update "adds better support for HTML5, CSS3 and new JavaScript features to ALL versions of Visual Studio," Hanselman said.

On the download page, the update is listed as supporting Visual Studio 2010 Service Pack (SP) 1 and Visual Web Developer Express 2010 SP1.

Microsoft currently provides some HTML5, CSS and JavaScript tooling as part of Internet Explorer. The IE 9 F12 tools help with creating, testing and administering IE sites using these standards. Microsoft also provided some fairly limited HTML5 support in Visual Studio 2010 Service Pack 1.

Earlier this year, Andrew Brust, founder of Microsoft analysis and strategy provider Blue Badge Insights noted that "there absolutely needs to be good HTML5 tooling in Visual Studio."

Brust explained: "The trend toward markup-intensive work with ASP.NET MVC and ASP.NET Web Pages with Razor makes this all the more urgent. Since developers are starting to move away from ASP.NET WebForms server controls (which could encapsulate the HTML 5 rendering and corresponding JavaScript), developers really need the helpers to assist them in writing the new markup and script that HTML 5 requires themselves.”

Microsoft is increasingly beating the HTML5, CSS and JavaScript drum, telling developers earlier this year that these technologies will be key to developing Windows 8 applications. (Microsoft officials haven't yet said more about other development tools and technologies which programmers can use to write Windows 8 apps, and have said they will not say more until the Build development conference in mid-September.) I'm betting Microsoft also will have more to say around HTML5 and JavaScript tooling at Build, as well.

Speaking of HTML5 and other developer tools Microsoft blogger David Cathue recently shared a comparative list of Silverlight 5 vs. HTML5 features (with the annoying Silverlight 5 download problem now fixed on the page).  (I'm not linking directly to his post, as I cannot get it to load properly in Chrome or IE 9, as it ironically keeps prompting me to load a more recent version of Silverlight, but then won't let me. Here's a summary of his post on Microsoft-news.com.)

Editorial standards