Microsoft TechEd 2013: Visual Studio 2013, TFS 2013 Bust Out

Microsoft made bold moves in announcing major new versions of its dev tools, Visual Studio 2013 and Team Foundation Server 2013, at its TechEd 2013 show today.

Microsoft is announcing major new versions of its flagship application development environment and application lifecycle management (ALM) solutions—preview versions of Visual Studio 2013 and Team Foundation Server (TFS) 2013—at its TechEd 2013 conference in New Orleans on June 3.

The software giant is announcing key new functionality in both environments and will be introducing some of the technology at TechEd, which runs June 3-6, and then releasing preview versions along with more detail on the technology at its upcoming Build 2013 developer conference, which will run June 26-28 in San Francisco. The company is also announcing a key technology acquisition that bolsters its DevOps story.

"We'll be talking through at TechEd the bulk of the ALM features. We have quite a lot of new capability in Visual Studio 2013 and TFS 2013, which will ship with VS 2013," Brian Harry, a Microsoft technical fellow working as the product unit manager for Team Foundation Server, told eWEEK. "Further, we'll be announcing the first preview build of VS 2013 will be available at the Build conference. What we'll focus on at TechEd are the ALM-oriented features. We will be saving the more platform-oriented features like the Windows Store app development features at Build. Think of TechEd as more ALM oriented and Build as more core software construction oriented announcements."

And there will be several of both, Harry noted.

There will be groundbreaking changes in the core coding experience for the Visual Studio integrated development environment (IDE) with the release of VS 2013, Harry said. For instance, there will be changes that impact developer productivity akin to the way IntelliSense helped change the way developers wrote code when it was first introduced.

Some years ago, in 1996, Microsoft introduced IntelliSense, which fundamentally changed the way people coded. It got rid of the world where people would code with a book next to their desk or with a browser help page up, Harry said. IntelliSense provided an interactive experience in the IDE that told you here are your choices for methods, here's your list of parameters, here's a description of what each parameter is—sort of an embedded help directly into your IDE experience, and it revolutionized the way people coded, he said.

"We've got another feature coming that I think has a good chance of having a similar effect," Harry said. "I think of it as sort of a heads-up display for your code. We're currently calling it Code Information Indicators, but I think that will change before we finally announce it. But imagine as you're looking at code, your code is sort of overlaid with annotations to tell you things about what's happening in your code.

"So you're looking at a method, and overlaid on that method would be the list of tests that test that method and the current state of those tests—which ones are passing and which ones are failing, [and] if they're failing, what are the error messages they're failing with? And because Visual Studio now has an automatic test runner, as you're typing code every time you build it runs the test. And, boom, right there in the editor it will pop up and say this method is now failing. We also have a references indicator, which tells you who called this method. We do some similar things with our version control information to tell you what the recent changes were to this information."