HTML5 added to Visual Studio by "rogue faction"
Written by Ian Elliot   
Monday, 20 June 2011

The first of the Web Standards Updates which adds support for HTML5 to VS2010 has come from "a rogue faction" rather than an official source. If Microsoft is so keen on HTML5 why hasn't it a more mainstream origin?

A Web Standards Update for Microsoft Visual Studio 2010 SP1 was released last week. It works on both commercial versions of Visual Studio and the free Visual Web Developer Express 2010 SP1. It is hosted on, and can be downloaded from, the Visual Studio Gallery Web site.

The first in a planned series of releases, with further updates expected every three months keep Visual Studio updated with the changes made by W3C, this update features improved HTML5 support, adds support for CSS 3 and provides JavaScript IntelliSense support for additional APIs.

vshtml

What is surprising about the update is the note:

This extension is created by a bunch of folks within Microsoft in their spare time.  This is NOT an official Microsoft product.

A similar note appears on the Visual Web Developer Team Blog, which proclaims itself "Your official information source from the Visual Web Developer team", but the fact that it announces the update and gives an overview of its features suggests that they endorse the efforts of the "rogue faction" within the Web Platform and Tools team led by Mads Kristensen.

The "rogue faction" moniker in Mary Jo Foley's headline on her ZDNet blog appears to have originated from Scott Hanselman's blog and he has now replaced the term with "some folks" who he also describes as "passionate programmers" but it does raise the question of why this isn't an official release?

Perhaps one reason is that it doesn't seem entirely robust to judge from the list of queries - however as the problems arise fixes are also forthcoming. A more likely reason is that official releases work to a slower timetable and the enthusiasts for the adoption of HTML5  technology who are dedicated enough to devote their spare time are also keen to make their progress public without delay.

So what does the update offer?

The main features are:

HTML5

Intellisense and validation for video, audio, new input tags and drag&drop

WAI-ARIA

The WAI-ARIA standard enables web developers to make their websites more accessible to e.g. screen readers.

Microdata

Adds intellisense to the most popular mircodata vocabularies including schema.org and data-vocabulary.org.

JavaScript

JavaScript intellisense it updated to reflect many of the new browser capabilities such as Geolocation and DOM storage.

Finally, this update adds comprehensive CSS3 intellisense and validation based on the latest specifications from W3C.

In many ways these improvements are small and of course obvious. Even though official upgrades take more time - you have to ask how much time Microsoft needs to upgrade intellisense and validation to include HTML5 features? The fact of the matter is that if I want to follow Microsoft's lead and develop HTML5 apps then I really can't find any official support in Microsoft's development tools - you have to find this at the very least ... odd.


 

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