‘Visual Studio 11’ Beta and .NET Framework 4.5 Beta Make Software Development Fast, Collaborative and Focused

*New version of Microsoft’s flagship development environment simplifies common workflows, reduces user interface complexities and streamlines application lifecycle management, improving collaboration for developers and teams.*

REDMOND, Wash. — Designing software, creating code and then bringing a product to market is an incredibly complex affair — and it’s becoming more complex by the minute as software users demand greater integration between applications, across devices and among services. To help integrate cross-functional teams and help developers accomplish goals more efficiently, Microsoft will release code-named “Visual Studio 11” Beta and .NET Framework 4.5 Beta on Feb. 29.

“Visual Studio 11” is an integrated solution that helps individuals and development teams of any size to be productive and focused, to collaborate seamlessly with colleagues, and to turn their ideas into exceptional and compelling applications.

Code-named “Visual Studio 11” eliminates the use of color, part of changes providing a clean developer experience. Image credit: Microsoft

“We undertook building ‘Visual Studio 11’ with a focus on offering today’s software developer the very best environment for efficiently building applications — for both businesses and consumers,” said S. Somasegar, corporate vice president, Developer Division, Microsoft. “In addition, our work has been highly influenced by the proliferation of devices and a passion for enabling developers to focus on building high-quality, modern applications with data that seamlessly flows from one device to another, easily incorporating intuitive interfaces such as touch and voice. We want developers to be productive in building such applications, whether they’re using C++, JavaScript, Visual Basic or C#.”

The .NET Framework 4.5 enables developers to productively build responsive, scalable and efficient client and server applications. “Developers building services for Windows Server and Windows Azure will get the tools they need to effectively harness the power of the cloud,” Somasegar said.

Get Into the Zone

“Visual Studio 11” offers an improved developer experience that includes a simplified user interface designed to keep developers focused on their work, with fewer distractions and easier access to the tools they need.

“We know that developers can lose a lot of their time just orienting themselves to a project and the tools they are working with,” said Jason Zander, corporate vice president, Visual Studio, Microsoft. “By refreshing the user interface, we’ve made much of the core functionality easier for a developer to find and use quickly, helping maintain concentration.”

A number of features were added and improvements made to “Visual Studio 11,” including the following:

Reduced toolbar commands. To help free up precious workspace, Microsoft has reduced the number of default commands that show on toolbars in the user interface. These commands can still be accessed through the drop-down menus or added back onto the toolbar if the user wants them, but now the default work area is significantly larger. For example, the cut, copy and paste toolbar commands were removed because research has shown that most developers use the keyboard shortcuts instead.
Simplified graphics. “Visual Studio 11” eliminates the use of color within tools except in cases where color is used for notification or status change purposes. Now, the user interface competes far less with the developer’s content. Other user interface graphics, such as line work and iconography, also have been simplified to be less distracting.
Comprehensive search. “Visual Studio 11” features a comprehensive search capability, allowing developers to quickly find what they are looking for within commands and configuration options, tool windows, and open files.
Workflow hubs. New workflow hubs combine common tasks into one simplified window. Rather than force developers to interact with two or more tool windows to get tasks done, ”Visual Studio 11” streamlines common tasks so that many can be accomplished from within a single window.
Preview Tabs. Developers can view the contents of documents using new Preview Tabs, which get reused as the developer works. As a result, developers no longer end up with large numbers of extraneous documents open as a byproduct of common tasks such as debugging or browsing results.

Software Development From Start to Finish

“Visual Studio 11” provides an integrated development experience that seamlessly spans the entire lifecycle of software creation — from architecture and user interface design to code creation, insight and analysis, deployment, testing, and validation. Visual Studio application lifecycle management (ALM) capabilities help project stakeholders work together at every step in the development cycle to deliver high-quality applications.

In addition, the Beta release of “Visual Studio 11” includes support for Windows 8 and Web development, which are supported by Visual Studio Express for Windows 8 and “Visual Studio 11” Express for Web, respectively.

“Visual Studio 11” Team Foundation Server (TFS) Beta provides the collaboration hub at the center of the Visual Studio ALM solution. From start to finish, teams can track projects through each stage of software development, from keeping tabs on version control to continually deploying software updates. The new ALM capabilities help ensure diverse team members integrate as one in the development cycle.

TFS automates the software delivery process and gives developers the tools they need to effectively manage software development projects throughout the IT lifecycle.

In addition to Beta, Microsoft is announcing Team Foundation Server Express, which is a great way to try out TFS. TFS Express includes core developer features, such as Source Code Control, Work Item Tracking, Build Automation and Agile Taskboard, and is available for free to individuals and teams of up to five members.

Building Efficient Managed Applications

With.NET Framework 4.5, Microsoft .NET has been enhanced significantly to enable developers to be as productive as possible while building rich, reliable and high-performance software in managed code. These enhancements were made across the Framework, including in the following:

Languages. To help developers deliver responsive clients and scalable servers, the C# and Visual Basic languages now have built-in support for writing asynchronous code almost as easily as if it were synchronous. And to help developers tackle data-complex problems, F# integrates Type Providers to make data access trivial in F# programs and components.
Performance. The Common Language Runtime has been overhauled to provide better performance, in particular for server applications and services. With additions such as background server garbage collection, multicore background JIT compilation and profile-guided optimization, managed applications can now start faster and run with better throughput and lower latency.
Networking. With the proliferation of devices and continuous services in the cloud, .NET Framework 4.5 builds upon the high-quality networking libraries already available in .NET to further enable the development of increasingly connected applications. New support spans from modern HTTP libraries to WebSockets to support for contract-first service development.

Beyond such areas, many additions have gone into improving the .NET Framework end to end. There are improvements from regular expression processing to better support for compression standards, enhanced support for HTML5, developer productivity enhancements in Entity Framework, optimized mobile experiences through ASP.NET, and more, ensuring .NET Framework 4.5 has something new for all developers building for the client and the cloud.

Download ”Visual Studio 11” Beta and .NET Framework 4.5 Beta on Feb. 29 and learn more about the new features by visiting https://www.microsoft.com/visualstudio. To see screen shots of the new user interface, visit https://www.microsoft.com/presspass/presskits/developer.

*Source: Microsoft

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