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First Look at Visual Studio 2012 Update 1

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With Visual Studio 2012 formally released by Microsoft last week, the company has not wasted any time in announcing their next release. The Consumer Technology Preview (CTP) for Update 1 is expected to be available by the end of this month, with the final release of Update 1 due by the end of 2012. Microsoft previously stated that one of their goals with VS2012 was to modify its architecture such that it could provide regular, digestible updates to the product.

So what are the areas Update 1 is intending to focus on? According to Microsoft there are "...four main categories, including added support of agile teams, continuous enabled quality, Microsoft SharePoint development and Windows development." Microsoft Technical Fellow Brian Harry provided has provided some details to expand on this description, and some highlights are listed below. Harry states that his list is not an exhaustive list, and the final roster of changes for this update has not been finalized. Developers looking for the C+11 improvements Herb Sutter previously alluded to will have to wait for a future announcement as they are not included in this release as of yet.



  • Load testing – Playback of test scripts is usually complicated as SharePoint utilizes dynamicaly generated data like GUIDs; changes in Update 1 are intended to provide built-in support for producing this data during testing so these scripts function correctly.

  • Coded UI support – This will correct some deficiencies in Coded UI support between VS2012 and SharePoint.

  • Unit testing – An emulator is being designed to simplify unit testing, intended to reduce the need for testing against a live SharePoint installation.

  • Intellitrace collection plan – Changes are being made in how IntelliTrace operates so that programmers can more easily debug SharePoint components. (This will not present in the first CTP, but is scheduled to be part of Update 1's official release.) 


Continuous Quality

  • IntelliTrace – Add improvements so that developers can adjust the granularity and collection areas to avoid being overwhelmed with diagnostic information.


General Development

  • Code Map – This looks to add an interesting new tool to VS2012 that will “incrementally build up an architecture/dependency diagram” as the user explores a code base. It is also promised that this will support incremental code querying, layering increased detail so relationships can explored with increasing detail.

  • File Path Limitations – One of the top ten requested features for Visual Studio is the removal of the 260 character file name length limitation. Harry reports that while this will not be removed entirely yet, but for Update 1 the limit for server paths will be increased to 400 characters. (The limit on clients will remain 260 characters.) Current limitations imposed by SQLServer prevent a larger increase or outright removal of the limit.

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