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Preview of Visual Studio 2012.2

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Microsoft has released a Community Technology Preview (CTP) of the latest update to Visual Studio 2012. Named Visual Studio 2012 Update (VS2012.2), the release continues the trend of providing changes to several areas of the program. Brian Harry, a Microsoft Technical Fellow and Product Unit Manager provided news of this update in conjunction with the news that VS2012 will have native Git support.

Similar to Update 1, the new features are grouped into four areas:

  1. Agile Planning

  2. Quality Enablement
  3. Line of Business
  4. Developer Experience

Starting with Agile Planning, users of Team Foundation Server will benefit from the ability to use tags to organize and label work items. For example, all items for version 1 could be tagged "V1", while those being held for version 2 could be tagged "V2". Additionally as items can have multiple tags, developers can add tags to group items that span multiple versions (“V1”, “V2”).

QA and product testers will benefit from the ability to manually run tests in environments where an install of Test Professional is not possible and/or practical. This feature allows tests to run on the test machine via web browser. Another addition is the ability for testers to create playlists of tests to better organize tests for different objectives.

Windows Phone developers can now write and run tests for Phone apps. Developers also gain the ability to build and deploy Windows Phone apps from the command line without having to make a full install of the Phone's developer tools.

Line of Business developers will benefit from Update 2's support of Office and SharePoint 2013. Harry states that load testing under SharePoint continues to receive improvements and that there is additional support for “...InfoPath, Excel services, [and] Office Web Companions...”

Developers missing Blend will find that this CTP brings support for “... developing Windows Store, Windows Phone, WPF and Silverlight apps without needing to have multiple versions of Blend on the same machine.”

The debate over VS2012's UI now seems fully resolved with the inclusion of the Visual Studio Blue Theme. While the ability to change the editor's colors is not new, this addition simplifies the process for those looking to make a quick switch.

Harry does note that this CTP is for evaluation purposes only and should not be installed in a production environment. Users looking for a stable build should wait for official release.

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