Microsoft Delivers Universal Windows App Development at Build 2014

Microsoft announced Visual Studio 2013 Update 2 Release Candidate, which enables developers to build one app that runs across different Windows form factors.

SAN FRANCISCO -- Microsoft has again expanded on its release late last year of Visual Studio 2013 by announcing on April 2 the availability of a release candidate (RC) of Visual Studio 2013 Update 2, which provides significant improvements to the flagship tools suite as well as support for the Windows Phone 8.1 and Windows 8.1 Update 1 platforms also released April 2.

In mid-November, Microsoft launched Visual Studio 2013 and committed to focus on providing agility and delivering continuous value to customers through more consistent and frequent Visual Studio releases. Microsoft also pledged to deliver superior cloud development tools with Visual Studio Online.

Now nearly five months later, at Microsoft’s Build 2014 developer conference here, the company has taken a next step forward in continuing to execute on that vision with the delivery of release candidate of Visual Studio 2013 Update 2, which “is one of the most significant updates we've ever done for Visual Studio,” said Soma Somasegar, corporate vice president of Microsoft’s Developer Division. Microsoft has seen more than 3.7 million downloads of Visual Studio 2013, which is faster adoption than with Visual Studio 2012, Somasegar said.

The major new features of Visual Studio 2013 Update 2 include Windows Phone tools and support for universal Windows application development, the final release of Team Foundation Server 2013 Update 2, and TypeScript 1.0. Visual Studio 2013 Update 2 RC is a "go-live" release, which means it is usable for production systems.

“Software is going to continue to have a key influence in both how we live and how we work – particularly if you think about the world as a cloud-first or mobile-first world,” Somasegar said. “More and more people prefer the economics and the agility that the cloud provides and they want to be on the cloud. So you have these two things coming together. So we think about that world and we want to make sure we deliver the best tools and the best developer services for people to build applications and services that live in that cloud-first, mobile-first world.”

Microsoft delivered new developer platform capabilities in Windows Phone 8.1 and the next major step toward platform unification with universal Windows apps for a common Windows runtime across phones, tablets and PCs.

With Windows 8.1 and Windows Phone 8.1 apps both building on the same Windows Runtime, developers can create universal Windows apps, sharing a large amount of their code between Windows and Windows Phone, Somasegar said. “In Visual Studio, we've introduced a notion of shared projects for C#, C++ and JavaScript, making sharing code and assets between the Windows and Windows Phone heads of the same app as easy as possible.”