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Visual Studio 2012 is Released

Anyone that has a MSDN subscirption can now download Microsoft’s new Visual Studio 2012 development environment.  In addition to providing many improvements.

The new edition takes aim to support the development of “modern applications”. Its main focal point is on apps for the new Windows 8 OS and on the development of modern web applications with HTML5, CSS3 and JavaScript. As the complete “catalogue” of new features is very long, we’ll provide a brief overview of the most significant ones below.

If Visual Studio 2012 is installed on a system under Windows 8 or Windows Server 2012 then the new WinRT environment is supported as a platform for mobile applications and compact, “modern” apps (previously code-named Metro by Microsoft). Apps can be written in JavaScript with HTML5 and CSS, as well as XAML-based (Extensible Application Markup Language) in C++, C# and Visual Basic.

The most significant aspect in the development for WinRT is the support for asynchronous operations, with async and await keywords making it simpler to use the Task Parallel Library and create more responsive services. Internally, WinRT itself runs very close to the hardware, but it abstracts to such a degree that WinRT applications can run on Intel devices as well as ARM devices. For application development, Visual Studio 2012 offers tools and components that range from templates and debugging tools to simulators.

C++ developers mainly benefit from improvements to the editor. Highlighting, IntelliSense support and code snippets provide a significantly more pleasant working experience. The C++11 standard, which was released last year, is now also supported.

Writing JavaScript code has also become far more convenient, because JavaScript for Windows 8 apps has become a first class language in the world of Windows. The new version supports ECMAScript 5 and the HTML5 DOM with IntelliSense auto-completion, highlighting, formatting tools, jumps to definitions, and various other features. Third party libraries can also be integrated.

In terms of C# and Visual Basic, the new async feature significantly simplifies the writing of code that is to be executed asynchronously. Simpler for-each loops, iterators, call hierarchies, and global namespaces provide new “food” for the VB world.

The ALM (Application Lifecycle Management) area, which has seen steady growth in previous VS versions, has also been further extended. Backlogs, sprints and tasks can be managed through agile tools, while stakeholder and storyboard tools support the management of work teams and the integration with Microsoft Project and Project Server.


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