The Opportunity for Microsoft Developers Is Huge, Company Officials Said

By Darryl K. Taft  |  Posted 2012-08-15

Microsoft Visual Studio 2012, .NET 4.5 Released to the Web

Microsoft has released Visual Studio 2012 and .NET 4.5 to the Web.

Visual Studio 2012 and .NET 4.5 are the tools that form the backbone for developing on Windows 8, and Microsoft has released them more than two months ahead of the Oct. 26 planned release of Windows 8 to give developers a head start on building apps for the platform.

Jason Zander, Microsoft's vice president of Visual Studio, said MSDN subscribers can download Visual Studio 2012 immediately at the MSDN Subscriber Download Page, and volume licensing customers will be able to download starting Aug. 16 from the Volume Licensing Service Center.

Developers also will be able to find Visual Studio in stores in the next month or so, as well as some availability to purchase it through the Visual Studio product Website in the next few days, Zander said. Moreover, to evaluate the free trial versions or download Microsoft's free Express products, developers can go to the Visual Studio product Website.

"With Visual Studio 2012, we're delivering a productive and powerful development experience, one that makes it easy to develop on your own or as part of a collaborative team, all the while building apps that target the latest platforms," said S. "Soma" Somasegar, corporate vice president of Microsoft's Developer Division, in a blog post. "The interesting question for every developer out there is-what app will you build today? We look forward to discussing it more with you during the Visual Studio 2012 Launch Event Sept. 12."

Microsoft is holding a Visual Studio 2012 launch event Sept. 12 in Seattle as well as virtually for developers to tune in.

The Opportunity for Microsoft Developers Is Huge, Company Officials Said

The opportunity for Microsoft developers has never been better, Somasegar said. Microsoft is refreshing just about every piece of its platform in 2012, highlighted by Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8, but also including new versions of Windows Azure, SharePoint and Windows Server. Visual Studio 2012 and .NET 4.5, the developer tools used to create applications for those products, were built hand-in-hand with the refreshed platform, he said.

"The opportunity for a developer-whether you're building a Windows 8 app, a Windows Phone app or a Windows Azure app-is huge," Somasegar said in a statement. "You have a whole new set of capabilities in the platform, and a great set of tools that go hand-in-hand, all coming out now."

Somasegar said the biggest opportunity lies with Windows 8, which for the first time comes with a store for apps. With the number of people running Windows north of 1.3 billion, Microsoft offers developers who choose to build apps for Windows 8 worldwide reach. Now that it has been released to manufacturing and the Windows Store is open for business, the message for developers is to "start building," Somasegar said.

"Between the Windows franchise and Windows Store, the opportunity for you to have the broadest reach possible and to monetize your work is just phenomenal," he said.

Meanwhile, Zander said Microsoft was able to complete VS2012 in record time. "By adopting agile practices, and using our IDE and ALM tools, we've been able to complete the release in half as many milestones this time around," he said in a blog post.

Zander noted that the hundreds of new features in Visual Studio 2012 reflect the changing world of software development. He said narrow job titles like "mobile developer" or "client-side developer" are outdated; instead, developers now target multiple platforms across devices, services and the cloud. Visual Studio 2012 offers an integrated toolset that enables developers to build apps that run on everything from tablets to desktops to phones, and can connect to the cloud.

The product also reflects the growing size and geographic scattering of development teams. Most engineering teams are embracing agile practices such as Scrum and faster build cycles, and collaboration features are supported throughout the new Visual Studio, Microsoft said.

Visual Studio 2012 also includes a number of user interface enhancements that aim to make things easier for developers, who can spend most of the day plugged into it.

"For a developer, an integrated development environment like Visual Studio is their home," Somasegar said.

For example, the Visual Studio team embraced the design language appearing across Microsoft's products to give users a more modern experience, and simplified graphics make for fewer distractions. They added productivity features such as debugging tools and a code clone analyzer, a tool that helps locate duplicated code sections. A comprehensive search capability enables developers to quickly find what they're looking for across commands and configuration options, tool windows and open files, Microsoft said. And new workflow "hubs" combine common tasks into one simplified window.

Another big change is Visual Studio 2012's support for a range of programming languages and models. "Developers want to go where they have choice," Somasegar said. "So one of the things we've done in Visual Studio 2012 is work closely with our platform partners, particularly Windows 8, to make sure we provide freedom and choice." That means JavaScript, C#, Visual Basic, Python, F# and C++ are all supported.

Developers can download the toolset and start building modern apps for consumers and in the enterprise, Microsoft said.

Moreover, Visual Studio 2012 will help developers build touch-enabled apps that shine on upcoming Windows 8 devices. "There's going to be an amazing user base of people with these machines who are going to be very hungry for cool applications," Zander said in a statement. "That is the opportunity: to get your app in the hands of a huge user base."

"We want developers worldwide to download Visual Studio 2012 and start thinking about what they want to build, whether it's a consumer application or a business application, that's going to take advantage of the latest and greatest platform technologies that are coming out now," Somasegar said in a statement. "Start thinking about what is possible in terms of building new, stunning applications. And know that there's an opportunity for you to get broad reach and monetization no matter what platform you're targeting."

Meanwhile, as part of Visual Studio 2012, Microsoft updated its Expression Blend design tool to provide a better experience for designing Windows Store apps that use HTML and XAML, Somasegar said.

"And we incorporated its designer into Visual Studio for use with all XAML platforms," Somasegar said in his post. "However, the RTM release of Visual Studio 2012 does not include support in Blend for designing WPF 4.5 or Silverlight 5 applications. Today, we're releasing Blend + SketchFlow Preview for Visual Studio 2012, a preview of Blend that does support all XAML platforms and includes SketchFlow."

Developers can download it from here, and visit the BlendInsider blog for more details on the release, he said.

Rocket Fuel