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First Preview of VS2013's 4th Update

| by Jeff Martin Follow 16 Followers on Sep 05, 2014. Estimated reading time: 1 minute |

The forthcoming release of VS “14” has not diminished Microsoft's continuing efforts to update VS2013.  Through Product Unit Manager Brian Harry, the company has announced the release of its first preview for VS2013 Update 4.  This update is primarily full of various bug fixes, but it does contain a couple of new features for TFS and some fixes specific to Visual C++ developers.

Visual C++ developers will welcome improved (re)scanning speed for larger solutions.  Functions such as “Go To Definition” should now perform more quickly.  Program Manager Gabriel Ha provided an example of what developers can expect to see by using the Unreal Engine 4 codebase to provide some benchmarks:

Table Courtesy Microsoft

Looking at these numbers, automatic rescan of a solution fell from 165 seconds to half a second, forced rescan of a solution fell from 165 seconds to 75 seconds, and initial cold parse of a solution fell from 308 seconds to 185.  After Ha's report, some user feedback remains skeptical and some felt work on the following bug was more critical (producing SSE4 instructions when SSE2 were specified).  This bug remains under investigation by Microsoft.

New for Update 4 is the addition of GPU usage data to the Performance and Diagnostics hub.  This will allow developers to locate any bottleneck in program operation (GPU vs CPU).  These features join a couple of bug fixes related to Visual C++ development.

TFS users who install Update 4 will benefit from new charting abilities for work item queries, full-screen mode to allow for focusing on the backlog (useful during backlog planning meetings), and handling for Pull Requests that occur with Git.  Note that this Pull Request functionality is handled through the web IDE so it does not require Visual Studio to function and as a result benefits all developers who may be using TFS.

As with previous CTPs, this should be considered alpha software and not suitable for production environments.  Full release notes are available and the CTP may be downloaded direct from Microsoft.  Web-based update packages and full ISOs are available for both TFS and VS2013.

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