A couple of weeks ago, Microsoft launched Visual Studio 2010. Office 2010 is now available to corporate customers who are on site licence deals, and will be available for general purchase next month.
Meanwhile, you can now download trial versions of both packages, to see what all the fuss is about.
Office 2010 includes updated versions of favourites such as Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, OneNote and Publisher. You can download a 60-day trial from http://www.microsoft.com/office/2010/en/download-office-professional-plus/default.aspx. Be aware that this download is almost 1 GB, so do it overnight if you're on a broadband package that offers free and/or faster downloads duing off-peak times. Also, remember that it's going to stop working after 2 months, after which you won't be able to edit any files which rely on features not present in the version of Office you're currently using. So it's best done on a spare PC, or perhaps in a virtual machine that you can erase once the trial period expires.
My favourite new feature in Office 2010 is that there's now an option to "minimise" the ribbon, leaving just a menu line that looks remarkably like the pre-ribbon interface. For those of us that never liked the new ribbon, this is great news.
Next, Visual Studio 2010. This is Microsoft's top-of-the-range software development system, for those people who want to write Windows programs or web-based applications. If you ever used Visual Basic in the past, you'll be amazed to see how much it's grown up, as Visual Studio now lets you write programs that use a mixture of Visual Basic, C++, C#, Silverlight, and more besides.
You can download the VS2010 trial from http://www.microsoft.com/visualstudio/en-us/download. Again, this is a large (2 GB or so) download, so be aware of the implications. Also, turning your main PC into a software development environment isn't a great idea, so use a spare PC or a virtual machine.
The Visual Studio trial runs for 30 days. If you register your trial version after this date, the trial is then extended for a further 60 days, allowing 90 in total.
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