Microsoft Delivers Visual Studio 2013 RC, Windows 8.1 Bits to Devs

By Darryl K. Taft  |  Posted 2013-09-09

Microsoft Delivers Visual Studio 2013 RC, Windows 8.1 Bits to Devs

Microsoft announced Sept. 10 the availability of Visual Studio 2013 Release Candidate and noted that the company's flagship application development suite will release to manufacturing (RTM) on Oct. 18.

Microsoft also announced that it will be making its Windows 8.1 bits available to developers, which had been a point of contention between the devices and services giant and its developer base because Microsoft initially decided that developers would not get access to the Windows 8.1 bits in advance of its Oct. 18 general availability debut.

Developers now have access to the Release Candidate (RC) for Visual Studio 2013, which is available free for download here. Microsoft also announced that Windows 8.1 RTM and Windows Server 2012 R2 RTM are now available to the developer community via the Microsoft Developer network (MSDN) and TechNet.

"We heard from you that our decision to not initially release Windows 8.1 or Windows Server 2012 R2 RTM bits was a big challenge for our developer partners as they're readying new Windows 8.1 apps and for IT professionals who are preparing for Windows 8.1 deployments," wrote Steven Guggenheimer, corporate vice president of Microsoft's Developer & Platform Evangelism (DPE) group, in a blog post. "We've listened, we value your partnership, and we are adjusting based on your feedback. As we refine our delivery schedules for a more rapid release cadence, we are working on the best way to support early releases to the various audiences within our ecosystem."

In an interview early this summer, S. Somasegar, corporate vice president of Microsoft's Developer Division, told eWEEK the new Visual Studio release may be the most comprehensive ever, partly because the opportunities for software developers are higher than ever before. And Microsoft has to cater to the needs of these individuals and teams.

Meanwhile, Microsoft Technical Fellow Brian Harry told eWEEK prior to the Microsoft TechEd 2013 conference in June that Microsoft would be announcing a new version of Visual Studio and focusing on new application lifecycle management (ALM) and DevOps features.

In addition to the Visual Studio 2013 and Team Foundation Server/Service support for agile portfolio management, cloud-based load testing, a team room integrated with TFS, code comments integration with TFS, and Git support that Microsoft demonstrated at its TechEd and Build conferences, Microsoft also highlighted several new programmer productivity features.

"One such feature is the CodeLens (Code Information Indicators) capability we introduced at TechEd," Somasegar said in a blog post. "This feature brings useful information about types and type members directly into the editor, information such as the references to a particular method, how many tests are referencing a method and how many of them are passing, who last checked in a change that modified a method, and how many changesets impact a method."


Microsoft Delivers Visual Studio 2013 RC, Windows 8.1 Bits to Devs

Meanwhile, in a Sept. 9 post, Somasegar said, "I'm excited to announce the Release Candidate of Visual Studio 2013, .NET Framework 4.5.1 and Team Foundation Server 2013!  The release is available for download now on the Visual Studio product website and is a 'go-live' release.  Starting today, developers can also download Windows 8.1 RTM via their MSDN and TechNet subscriptions. The RC release is the next big step toward the release of Visual Studio 2013.  Today I am also excited to announce that Visual Studio 2013 will RTM at Windows 8.1 GA and the Visual Studio 2013 Virtual Launch will be held on November 13th, 2013!"

Somasegar said features like synchronized settings, peek definition in the editor, UI responsiveness tools for XAML and HTML apps, async debugging and Azure Mobile Services integration provide enhancements across a wide range of developer scenarios.

"One of my favorite improvements in Visual Studio 2013 RC is the enhancements to the XAML editor," Somasegar said. "Developers are authoring XAML for many of our platforms, from WPF to Silverlight to Windows Phone to Windows Store. In the RC, we've added IntelliSense for Data Binding to the XAML editor."

The Visual Studio 2013 RC also features Microsoft TypeScript. Less than a year ago, Microsoft released the first public preview of TypeScript, a language for application-scale JavaScript development. With Visual Studio 2013 RC, Microsoft includes the most recently released version of TypeScript tooling (v0.9.1.1) as the company continues to seek community feedback from early adopters. TypeScript brings classes, modules and optional static types to JavaScript development. In Visual Studio, this enables rich tools like live error reporting as you type, IntelliSense and Rename refactoring, the company said.

Also, with Visual Studio 2013, you can create and manage modern business applications that extend the Office 365 experience to help people interact with business processes, artifacts and other systems. Office 365 Cloud Business Apps run in the cloud, taking advantage of the rich platform capabilities exposed by Windows Azure and Office 365. As cloud-based apps, they are available to devices to aggregate data and services from in and out of an enterprise, and integrate user identities and social graphs. These applications integrate with the application lifecycle management capabilities of Visual Studio, bridging the worlds of the business app developer with IT operations.

Visual Studio 2012 also features Work Item Charting where developers can quickly create a variety of charts to visualize data based from their work item queries, such as bugs, user stories and tasks.

"In providing the best developer tools to our customers, Visual Studio 2013 RC enables development teams to build, deliver and manage compelling apps that take advantage of today's devices and services," Guggenheimer said. "Given the accelerated rate of technological advancement we continue to see in the industry and here at Microsoft, it's an exciting time to be an app builder. We recognize the critical role developers play—the breadth of our apps ecosystem is a key pillar of the Windows experience. It's an essential end-to-end relationship – we deliver the tools, services and platform to give developers the flexibility and opportunity to innovate and build experiences for Windows that make all our lives more productive and fun."

He added that the primary purpose of Windows 8.1 RTM and Visual Studio 2013 RC availability is for testing as Microsoft's engineering teams continue to refine and update the product and tools in preparation for Windows 8.1 general availability on Oct. 18 and the release of Visual Studio 2013 RTW. "Third-party apps may require final refinement to onboard into the Windows Store at the Oct. 18 GA milestone," he said. "However, we're confident this pre-release will enable developers to ready their Windows 8.1 apps for customers while validating their existing apps function as expected on Windows 8.1."

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