Microsoft Delivers Visual Studio 2013 Update 3 Preview

Sticking with its commitment to continue to release updates to Visual Studio, Microsoft announced a preview of Visual Studio 2013 Update 3.

Microsoft Visual Studio 2013 Update

Just one week after delivering the final version of Visual Studio 2013 Update 2, Microsoft has released the next update to its flagship software development toolset, Visual Studio 2013 Update 3 Community Technology Preview 1 (CTP 1).

On May 22, Microsoft provided developers with Update 3 to Visual Studio 2013, which brings improvements on Visual Studio features such as IntelliTrace, CodeLens, debugging and testing tools, as well as others. These improvements are in early preview stage in this release. The new release is available for download here.

Improvements to the debugger include if you have more than one monitor, Visual Studio will remember which monitor on which a Windows Store application was last run. Also, you can debug x86 applications that are built by .NET native with the new update, and when you analyze managed memory dump files, you can go to Definition and Find All References of the selected type.

Meanwhile, at TechEd 2014, Microsoft said it would update Release Management for Visual Studio 2013 to help ease configuration, automation and management of on-premises and Microsoft Azure VM-based cloud infrastructure. With this preview release, developers can now simplify and streamline their release process by using Windows PowerShell or the Windows PowerShell Desired State Configuration (DSC) feature to deploy and manage configuration data. Developers can deploy to Microsoft Azure or on-premises environments without having to set up Microsoft Deployment Agent.

New improvements to the testing tools include developers can add custom fields and custom work flows for test plans and test suites, they can use Manage Test Suites permission for granting access to test suites, and they can track changes to test plans and test suites by using work-item history.

Microsoft also released Visual Studio 2013 Update 2 with improved tools for Windows Phone 8.1 and Microsoft Azure and introduced new virtual machine images for dev/test in Azure. The final release of Visual Studio 2013 Update 2 brings dozens of significant new features to Visual Studio developers, including tools for Windows Phone 8.1 and universal Windows apps, noted S. “Soma” Somasegar, corporate vice president of Microsoft’s Developer Division, in a recent blog post. With more than 5 million downloads of Visual Studio 2013 since it released to manufacturing (RTM) last fall, this is the fastest adopted version of Visual Studio yet, he said.

Microsoft also previewed two new technologies that continue to demonstrate the company’s commitment to supporting cross-platform mobile development and cloud-optimized Web development with ASP.NET. With bring-your-own-device (BYOD) trends in the enterprise, and heterogeneity in the consumer mobile device market, developers are increasingly focused on building apps that can target a variety of devices, Somasegar said. “We are committed to enabling developers to build apps for this heterogeneous, mobile-first world with Visual Studio for the technology of your choice–whether .NET, C++ or JavaScript,” he added.

For instance, last November, Microsoft announced a partnership with Xamarin to enable C# and Visual Studio developers to target additional mobile devices including iOS and Android. Developers using Xamarin and Visual Studio can create native apps taking advantage of the underlying device, with the productivity of C#, and sharing code and libraries between their iOS, Android and Windows applications.

At TechEd, Microsoft released a preview of Visual Studio tooling support for Apache Cordova. Apache Cordova is a popular open-source platform for building multi-device hybrid mobile applications using HTML, CSS and JavaScript, targeting a broad range of mobile devices.

“This includes support for iOS and Android, as well as support for Windows Store and Windows Phone thanks to Microsoft Open Technologies contributions to the project,” Somasegar said.

With the Cordova tools in Visual Studio, Web developers can use their existing skills in HTML and JavaScript to create hybrid-packaged apps for multiple devices while taking advantage of each device’s capabilities.

“It is very exciting not only to welcome Visual Studio developers but also to welcome first-class tools to Apache Cordova,” said Jesse MacFadyen, a software developer at Adobe and core Apache Cordova contributor, in a statement. “This development is a great validation of the hard work of the MS Open Tech team and Apache Cordova contributors. We look forward to continuing this cool work with Microsoft’s developers.”

Summing up the changes being made to Visual Studio, Somasegar said, “Mobile-first, cloud-first development is changing the way that developers think about the applications they deliver. Extending the incredible productivity of Visual Studio to multi-device development provides a great opportunity for developers to build rich applications targeting multiple mobile platforms.”