Microsoft Build 2013: Visual Studio 2013, .NET 4.5.1 Previews Ship

At its Build 2013 conference in San Francisco, Microsoft announced the availability of its latest flagship dev platforms: Visual Studio 2013 and .NET 4.5.1.

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SAN FRANCISCO—Microsoft has added a slew of new features and improvements to the latest version of its flagship developer toolset, Visual Studio 2013, which ships in preview today.

Announcing the availability of the first build preview of the upgraded integrated development environment (IDE) here at the company's Build 2013 conference, 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.

As Microsoft Technical Fellow Brian Harry told eWEEK prior to the Microsoft TechEd 2013 conference earlier this month, Microsoft would be announcing a new version of Visual Studio and focusing on the application lifecycle management (ALM) and DevOps features at TechEd. At Build, the company is focusing on the core software development capabilities of the products making Visual Studio 2013 Preview and .NET 4.5.1 Preview now available for download and as "go-live" releases.

"Go Live means customers can use it to deploy applications that they can deploy in production environments, and we'll be glad to work with them and support them in that process," Somasegar told eWEEK.

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 TechEd, at Build, Microsoft is introducing or highlighting 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."

Somasegar told eWEEK: "Code Lens gives you insight and information about a particular piece of code as you navigate through that code in your IDE, for example, if I'm in a method and I want to know what other methods I am calling or who is calling into me. That is information that is hard to get otherwise, but we want to make it available to you right there in the IDE."

Visual Studio 2013 also has a Connected IDE feature that knows a user's identity and will roam and synchronize their settings—such as UI theme, keyboard shortcuts, text editor configuration and more—from one installation to another via back-end cloud services.

"Visual Studio 2013 also makes it much easier for you as a developer to create your own connected applications," Somasegar said in his post. "One key area of investment in this release is around Windows Azure Mobile Services and making it easy to provision, configure, develop, and deliver back-end services for your mobile apps. From within Visual Studio, you can now easily create new Mobile Services and edit them using the full power of the Visual Studio IDE."

Moreover, another such feature meant to streamline a developer's productivity is "Peek Definition," Somasegar said. Visual Studio already supports "Go to Definition," which opens a new document window to host the file containing the definition for the referenced symbol, and as of Visual Studio 2012, supports opening this in a preview window, he added. "Now in Visual Studio 2013, Peek Definition gives developers the option of viewing inline as part of the current document the file defining the target symbol," he said.