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Preview of Visual Studio 11: DirectX and SharePoint Features

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The latest entry in our ongoing series on the upcoming Visual Studio 11 introduces some of the tooling advances Microsoft is working on for developers using DirectX or targeting the SharePoint platform. While these new features won't benefit everyone, they do provide some refinements for developers in those areas.

DirectX: Shaders

Visual Studio 11 will provide developers with improved shader support in the editor. This support is intended to provide easier editing and tighter build integration. The improvements are not limited to the text editor, as the upcoming release will introduce a visual designer for creating shader effects. This means that developers can use the designer to create new effects, view the changes to the effects in real-time, and then obtain generated HLSL (High-Level Shader Language) code for that effect.  Changes to effect can also be viewed in chronologically, helpful when viewing non-static effects.

In an attempt to reduce the number of outside tools developers need, an asset viewer is being built into Visual Studio 11. While not meant as replacement for content creation applications, the viewer will allow developers to easily view content,  including .FBX and  .DDS files, without the need for an external program.

Finally, Visual Studio 11 will bring debugging “tools that enable capturing DirectX frames, getting a history of all of the commands sent to the GPU, [and] seeing all of the events that occurred as part of a specific pixel's rendering”.


The two highlighted features of SharePoint support relate to lists and remote publishing. Rather than manually editing XML files to edit SharePoint lists, developers may now be edit lists via a new List Designer. SharePoint solutions may now be published to remote SharePoint sites (including SharePoint Online in Office 365).

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