Microsoft 'Visual Studio 11' and .NET 4.5 Betas Set for Feb. 29

Microsoft gave a sneak peek at what is to come in the next major version of its flagship toolset code-named Visual Studio 11, and said a beta of it and the .NET Framework 4.5 will ship on Feb. 29.

Microsoft announced that it will deliver beta versions of Visual Studio 11 and the .NET Framework 4.5 on Feb. 29.

In a €œsneak peek€ with press and analysts on Feb. 23, Microsoft shared some information on what will be in the next major version of its flagship development tools suite, code-named Visual Studio 11.

S. €œSoma€ Somasegar, corporate vice president of Microsoft€™s Developer Division, said the new toolset focuses on three primary themes: modern consumer and business apps, simplified and productive development environment, and collaborative and agile software teams.

Moreover, Somasegar said, €œWe will be in lock-step between the platform [Windows 8] and the tools.€ Microsoft released a preview of Visual Studio 11 in September 2011 along with a developer preview of Windows 8 at its BUILD conference. The company is expected to deliver a beta or Consumer Preview of Windows 8 around the same time as the beta of Visual Studio is delivered.

Yet, despite talking of being in lock-step with the Windows 8 team and the platform€™s development, Microsoft did not address key issues, such as using the toolset to build Metro application or developing with HTML5.

€œAs the platform comes out, we will be prepared to talk a lot more about what we are doing hand-in-hand with the platform team,€ Somasegar said.

Somasegar also said Visual Studio 11 will enable developers to build apps that allow devices to stay connected to cloud back-ends and to be highly collaborative. €œAnd we will enable you as a developer to touch-enable your apps.€

Microsoft had to take all these disparate things into account in building the product, Somasegar said. It had to not only take into account the 10 million or so professional developers and their interests in mobile development and app stores for easy distribution and reach for their apps, but also the €œnew kinds of people building apps€ who are not pros, he said. Thus, there are €œhundreds and hundreds of new features coming in Visual Studio 11,€ he added.

Microsoft said Visual Studio 11 is an integrated solution that helps individuals and development teams of any size be productive and focused, collaborate seamlessly with colleagues, and turn their ideas into exceptional and compelling applications.

€œWe undertook building €˜Visual Studio 11€™ with a focus on offering today€™s software developer the very best environment for efficiently building applications€”for both businesses and consumers,€ Somasegar said in a statement. €œIn addition, our work has been highly influenced by the proliferation of devices and a passion for enabling developers to focus on building high-quality, modern applications with data that seamlessly flows from one device to another, easily incorporating intuitive interfaces such as touch and voice. We want developers to be productive in building such applications, whether they€™re using C++, JavaScript, Visual Basic or C#.€

The .NET Framework 4.5 enables developers to productively build responsive, scalable and efficient client and server applications. €œDevelopers building services for Windows Server and Windows Azure will get the tools they need to effectively harness the power of the cloud,€ Somasegar said.