The first difference that I saw, was the installation size. In Beta 2 my configuration was around 3.7GB, in RC it increased to 4.2GB! Still, the Release Candidate makes it worth every MB, because it’s lightning fast! The Add reference window is “just there” and the whole IDE just feels very very responsive: great work VS team!
I was not the only one who created and published extensions for the Visual Studio SharePoint development tools. First there was the SPVSX toolkit by Matt Smith, Wesley Hackett and Todd Bleeker. Then, just a few weeks ago, Wouter van Vugt published his cool toolkit on-line. At some point we all noticed that while we could continue creating new extensions individually, the real power was to join the forces.
A few weeks ago I published an extension for the new Visual Studio SharePoint development tools that simplifies working with SPMetal. Upon installation the extension adds a menu to every Site node in SharePoint Explorer. Using that menu option you can generate the SPMetal definition just as if you would use the SPMetal command line interface itself.
One of the cool things about the new Visual Studio SharePoint development tools is the ability to communicate with SharePoint to retrieve and work with SharePoint content. Running SharePoint code in the context of a Visual Studio SharePoint development tools extension is pretty simple, but you do have to know one thing in order to be able to debug it.