The ASP.NET roadmap has been updated with their post-VS 2012 plans. The next set of features will focus on OData functionality and new/updated templates for MVC. Editor support for LESS and CoffeeScript is also in the works.
WebMatrix 2 is a free development tool developed by Microsoft that enables developers to create ASP.NET, PHP based applications easily. WebMatrix 2 includes new templates, improved intellisense with support for Windows Azure.
Embarcadero Technologies launched a major overhaul of its development tools line that includes RAD Studio XE3, Delphi XE3 and C++Builder XE3. The company also launched HTML5 Builder for Mobile and Web app developers. InfoQ spoke with John Thomas, Director of Product Management at Embarcadero.
Adobe Systems has recently released PhoneGap 2.0. PhoneGap provides the ability to build applications for iOS, Android, Blackberry, Windows Phone, Palm WebOS, Samsung Bada and Symbian. PhoneGap 2.0 includes support for Cordova WebView, which enables developers to wrap a web application as a native app by using the browser control available in all the mobile platforms.
Adobe is applying is experience in print media to CSS with the introduction of CSS3 Regions and Exclusions. These features will allow a single block of content to span multiple columns and weave its way around pictures and charts much like you would see in a magazine or newspaper.
Oracle have today released NetBeans 7.1, with a strong emphasis on GUI enhancements. The product includes developer support for JavaFX 2.0, significant updates to the Swing Builder (Matisse), and tools for visual debugging of both JavaFX and Swing user interfaces. For web GUI, NetBeans continues to flesh out its already strong HTML 5 coverage, adding support for CSS3.
Google has open source under Apache License 2.0 Closure Stylesheets, a utility belonging to the Closure Tools package and useful when dealing with CSS. Closure Stylesheets is a Java program adding variables, functions, conditionals and mixins to CSS, making it simpler to work with large CSS files.
Sencha released Animator, a tool for creating CSS-based animations, that lets designers create interactive HTML5/CSS3-based animations that run smoothly on desktop and mobile devices, without requiring a plug-in. Sencha Animator enables designers to leverage Web standards and create, cross-platform animations for WebKit browsers, Internet Explorer 10, and popular touchscreen mobile devices
Richly formatted emails can require quite a bit of CSS, but since email clients don’t always handle CSS well the styles need to be inlined. With Ruby this is easily handled with the Alex Dunae’s Premailer library, but calling it from .NET isn’t palatable to most developers. So Martin H. Normark built a .NET version called PreMailer.NET.
The principal problem with using HTML 5 and CSS 3 isn’t the adoption rate or the differences between browsers, it is knowing what those differences are in the first place. Once that is known developers can work around the limitations using graceful degradation techniques. To help figure that out many turn to the open source project Modernizr.
Microsoft has released an update to Expression Web 4 to support HTML 5 and CSS 3 development. This update, part of Service Pack 1, is only a partial solution; it offers IntelliSense and error-checking support but with only partial preview support. This update also includes expanded support for PHP IntelliSense.