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Visual Studio 11 Beta Coming February 29

by Jeff Martin on Feb 24, 2012 |

Leap year is providing a bonus for those interested in testing the latest release of Visual Studio. Microsoft is releasing Visual Studio 11 Beta with .NET Framework 4.5 Beta on February 29, 2012.   On February 23, InfoQ had the opportunity to attend Microsoft's web broadcast describing some of the additional features coming with VS11.  During the hour-long presentation several different areas of VS11 were explored and several concepts discussed, providing insight on Microsoft's approach to this next release.

VS11: Overarching Concepts & Goals

Microsoft Corporate Vice President S. Somasegar began this presentation by listing what he felt were the key trends surrounding the development of VS11:

  • A proliferation of digital devices (tablets, MP3 players, smart phones, etc) in consumer's lives, and these consumers want access to these devices at any time.
  • Smart phones are used throughout the day by users, overlapping both home and work activities.
  • Providing ways to connect all of these various devices, and the resulting requirement for a back-end infrastructure (mentioned but not limited to “the cloud”) to facilitate this. Somasegar considers cloud computing to be an important transformation for the industry.
  • Continuing rise and importance of supporting modern development that is being done in a team environment.
  • Historically computer interaction has been done via the keyboard and mouse, but touch is becoming more widespread.

Somasegar stated that VS11 is mostly feature complete, and went on to list the three main value propositions that Microsoft intends to deliver on:

  • Enable developers to build modern consumer and business apps
  • Simplified & productive development environment
  • Support collaborative & agile based software teams

VS11:  Key Improvement Areas 

Microsoft Corporate Vice President Jason Zander then took the lead to discuss some engineering trends that Microsoft has identified. First, Zander stated that Microsoft has tripled down on their support for agile software development practices. Developer services, and testing advances via support for exploratory testing have also been identified and targeted.

So what is the end result of these concepts and focus? With VS11 Zander says Microsoft is targeting these core areas:

  • Work With Windows: Integration and support of the desktop Windows applications using WinForms, MFC, and WPF. Metro-based applications are also included in this category. DirectX based applications and games are also important, and support for their debugging and design is part of VS11.
  • Work With Cloud and Web: This area is augmented by the release of .NET Framework 4.5, and support for all networking related applications. This includes Windows Azure, Sharepoint, traditional web client applications executed in a browser and client/server applications.
  • Developer Experience: While most developers will fall into one of the previous areas, Zander repeatedly referred to developers as craftsmen and that Microsoft wants to support them with a quality tool in VS11 that has a renewed emphasis on usability.

Over the coming days InfoQ will be profiling and further investigating the new details announced in the VS11 Beta and how it will affect developers.

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What about developers? by M Vleth

Okay, so VS2011 has enough new stuff to make managers happy, but the target should be developers. Since VS2010 is still an overpriced notepad and only becomes an IDE when you install some add-on like Resharper, it's time to put some effort in the editors. Maybe MS should do some usability tests to see how developers actually work.

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