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Microsoft Releasing Visual Studio 11 Beta on Feb. 29

Visual Studio 11 will hit the beta milestone on Feb. 29, the same day the Windows 8 "consumer preview" is expected to be released, Microsoft announced Thursday at a "sneak preview" event.

Microsoft is working to "align the upcoming milestones" between Visual Studio 11 and the Windows 8 platform, said S. "Soma" Somasegar, corporate president of the Microsoft Developer Division. To that end, the timing of the Visual Studio 11 beta coincides with the release of the Windows 8 consumer preview during the Mobile World Congress event in Barcelona next week, as well as the launch of the Windows Store for Metro-style applications. The Visual Studio 11 beta supports integration with the Windows Store.

A beta of .NET Framework 4.5 will also arrive on Feb. 29. Both betas will be available with a Go Live license. The tools have been updated since the developer previews were released last September at the Microsoft BUILD conference, and will also include a free beta of Team Foundation Server Express, a subset of Team Foundation Server 11.

The Visual Studio 11 beta will feature an updated user experience, according to Jason Zander, corporate vice president of Visual Studio. The enhancements are designed to help developers focus on code and related tasks. They include fewer toolbars, less use of color, a revamped Solution Explorer window and Search Everywhere throughout the IDE, including for Visual Studio commands and in the new Unit Test Explorer.

Visual Studio 11 and Team Foundation Server enhancements are intended to further team productivity and integration for a continuous delivery cycle in a world of connected devices and services, Microsoft said. The company is also furthering the use of Visual Studio IntelliTrace diagnostics for service monitoring in System Center 2012.

Microsoft provides this features chart that compares the functionality in the Visual Studio 11 beta products (which include the familiar SKUs from the 2010 lineup): Visual Studio 11 Ultimate, Visual Studio 11 Premium, Visual Studio 11 Professional and Visual Studio 11 Test Professional.

The Visual Studio 11 beta can be used side-by-side with Visual Studio 2010, but the .NET Framework 4.5 beta is an in-place update to .NET Framework 4. Microsoft is working to ensure compatibility for most applications.

About the Author

Kathleen Richards is the editor of RedDevNews.com and executive editor of Visual Studio Magazine.