After five Betas and one RC we are finally hitting release for SharpDevelop 5.0. Here is a recap of some of the most important features and changes from the various development stages (in short):
- SD5 only supports C#. If you need VB.NET (or IP and IR respectively), please stick with version 4.4. The rewrite of NRefactory was the big-ticket item of this release, and supporting one language was huge already.
- SD5 is licensed under MIT, instead of LGPL.
- SD5 has ILSpy debugging integrated into the IDE.
- Loads of "smaller" improvements. Please see my posts in the what's new series, search grouping, go to definition improvements, a new addin manager and how to publish your own addin, class browser goodies, the new resource editor, member hierarchy navigation and many, many more.
Item #1 in this list definitely begs the question "What about VB.NET?" I'd like to extend this question to "What's in the future of SharpDevelop?"
We have componentized SharpDevelop intentionally for what is coming now - the as-of-today core team moving to specific areas of our ecosystem. Think ILSpy. Think AvalonEdit. Yes, this means that the IDE iself is going to take a back seat. There are a couple of reasons for this decision, ranging from something as simple as time constraints (we are after all a spare-time post-day-job operation - some people call this "life"), to uptake of the various projects (ILSpy is very popular, even when competing against "free as in beer" offerings - can't exactly say that for SharpDevelop) as well as next-to-non-existent influx of new development talent (writing tooling is way uncooler than writing libraries, take a look around).
Long story short - SharpDevelop is far from "done" (we'd never claim that), but we (the current core team) are realigning our efforts for visibility in the near term. This does not mean SharpDevelop is on "life support" or "dead". It means that bug fixing, small improvements and minor features have priority. Big shiny new things are up to contributions which we are more than happy to accept and help with, simply ping us on the developer mailing list to get started.
Like the post title says: 5.0 final, and not the final version of SharpDevelop. But we wanted to be open and up front about what level of development pace you as our valued customers can expect.