Wide Scope of IDE Improvements Coming to VS2013
Microsoft has begun sharing details on the changes coming to Visual Studio’s IDE in VS2013. Today, Project Manager Cathy Sullivan demonstrated a wide variety of changes that affect everything from the GUI and themes, to material improvements in performance, connectivity, and overall editor functionality. These changes should benefit all users of the IDE regardless of their chosen language.
Sullivan began her presentation with the new connectivity features of VS2013. Simply put, profiles are coming to the program and this means your existing Microsoft account (Outlook, Live, MSDN, etc) can be used to login to Visual Studio. This brings the benefits of a roaming profile that can bring in your preferences for the IDE, including font sizes, appearance, keyboard shortcuts, etc. Given the amount of time developers spend in their environment, a great deal of customization is done to maximize their productivity. This profile feature will allow these items to follow a user. Of further note, this ability can be customized so that only certain options are brought over.
Updates in VS2013 are now handled with more granularity and end-user control. Update notifications are centralized so that a user can review the changes before they are applied as well as decline to install them at all. If an update is reviewed and declined, the system will stop prompting the user to install it. Updates are also marked by yellow or red to mark their importance. Sullivan stated that one of the goals for the VS2013 team is to never install an update unless the user explicitly approves it.
The Enhanced scrollbar feature from Productivity Power Tools will be built-in to VS2013. It is customizable to select its views on-screen: narrow, medium, wide. This can also indicate where breakpoints are. Scroll-to-click on enhanced scroll bar is enabled, which provides a hover window with a preview of where the scroll-to-click will move the editor window to.
Peek windows have been introduced, which allow the main editor window to remain open while a smaller sub-window popup is used to examine other files in the solution’s source files. Breadcombs are enabled for this window, so that users can easily navigate their source tree and not lose the place they are currently editing.
Building on the performance improvements VS2012 had, VS2013 will have improved ability to support large solutions without losing user responsiveness. Deferred loading speeds up loading of solutions as well as (re)building. Rebuilds can also be cancelled, saving time when a lengthy rebuild is expected to take longer than a user wants to wait.
Developers can now try VS2013 for themselves as preview editions are available. Note that a Microsoft account will be required to sign-in to the product, but Sullivan stated that this is only a requirement in the preview builds, and will not be required in the final product.
Mike Amundsen May 29, 2015
Ben Linders May 28, 2015