What’s new in Visual Studio 2012

Microsoft recently released version 12 of its iconic Visual Studio software, and as you might expect there are a host of new features. Predictably, lots of these are aimed at app and Windows 8 developers, but those working on the web will find lots to like as well.

Visual Studio 2012The UI has received a massive overhaul, a change that has been chided in the blogosphere. Microsoft applied its Windows 8 (formally ‘Metro’) stylings, which has resulted in a largely flat, sparse, monochrome experience. It is clean and tidy, but a big change for those yet to embrace the new look, and will take a bit of getting used to.

In terms of features, those wanting to create Windows 8 apps will be pleased, with support for the traditional Windows 8 platform as well as the new WinRT ARM version. Apps can be created in C++, XAML, and C#, or HTML5 and CSS. Visual Studio offers a number of dedicated application templates. Microsoft's design tool ‘Expression Blend’ is also included, though is limited to working with Windows Store projects. It is still a separate application, but solution files can be easily shared.

Web developers are treated to full HTML5 and CSS3 support, and intelligence for both JavaScript and jQuery. Support for Windows Azure is included right out of the box, so developers can easily publish directly to Microsoft’s cloud service. Developers can also take advantage of ASP.NET 4.5 and the new ASP.NET Web API.

All in this update, UI preferences aside, will be welcomed by developers across the board. The good news doesn’t stop there either as Microsoft has committed to updating VS2012 regularly, with the first coming before the end of 2012.


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