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.
The .NET Framework 4.5 enables developers to build 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.
"Visual Studio 11" includes a simplified user interface with fewer distractions and easier access to the tools they need.
A number of features were added and improvements made to "Visual Studio 11," including the following:
- Reduced toolbar commands. To help free up 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. Other user interface graphics, such as line work and iconography, also have been simplified to be less distracting.
- The platform 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.
"Visual Studio 11" provides an integrated development platform that spans the entire lifecycle of software creation - from architecture and user interface design to code creation, insight and analysis, deployment, testing, and validation.
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.
In addition to Beta, Microsoft announced Team Foundation Server Express, which is a 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.
With.NET Framework 4.5, Microsoft .NET has been enhanced to enable developers to be as productive as possible while building 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 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.
The "Visual Studio 11" Beta and .NET Framework 4.5 Beta wil be acailable for download on Feb. 29 at http://www.microsoft.com/visualstudio.