Microsoft Launches Visual Studio 2012

Microsoft officially launched Visual Studio 2012 and .NET Framework 4.5 on Wednesday in a live event for partners and customers.

Previously, Visual Studio 2012 had been available only to MSDN and TechNet subscribers, who were also given access to the release-to-manufacturing version of Windows 8.

The Visual Studio 2012 Virtual Online Event, held at the Bell Harbor International Conference Center overlooking Puget Sound's Elliott Bay, kicked off with a 90-minute keynote from Microsoft executives that showcased how Visual Studio 2012 and Team Foundation Server can be used to develop and manage modern apps that target Microsoft's stack and other Web platforms.

"This is the best lineup of releases that we've seen in the history of the company, starting with Windows 8, Windows Server 2012, Windows Azure, Office 365, SQL Server," said Microsoft Corporate Vice President S. Somasegar, who heads the company's developer division. "So we've got all these fantastic platforms, and for you developers, the center of these platforms is Visual Studio," he said.

With more than 600,000 downloads of Visual Studio 2012 in less than four weeks, the new IDE already has the fastest download rate in the product's history. The ecosystem for the latest tooling is also well underway, according to Somasegar. In conjunction with Wednesday's launch, 72 partners are offering 100 extensions for Visual Studio 2012 "that are all shipping today," he said.

Somasegar pointed to mobile devices, the consumerization of IT and bring-your-own-device as trends indicating that users want to use the same types of devices in their home and business environments, and increasingly expect business and consumer apps to provide similar experiences.

"Visual Studio 2012 delivers a great set of tools that enable you to build what I call 'modern applications' to be able to target the latest technologies, in addition to existing platforms that you might have," he said. Modern apps are user-centric and data-centric, integrate social media and need continuous improvement to meet those expectations.

To help developers meet those requirements, Microsoft is taking the same "continuous value" approach with its product cycle. Visual Studio 2012 Update 1 is on track to be delivered before the end of the year, according to Somasegar. The first community technology preview (CTP) is slated for release later this month.

The Visual Studio 2012 family of products includes Professional, Premium, Ultimate and the Team Foundation Server 2012 collaboration platform, now available in preview as a cloud-based service. The company also offers free Visual Studio Express 2012 tooling for Windows 8, Windows Phone, Windows Azure and the Web. Microsoft also announced that the free Visual Studio Express 2012 for Windows Desktop, which was missing from the original 2012 lineup as Microsoft moved to a platform-based model for its free tooling, is available for download.

Somasegar ended his portion of the keynote with an announcement that got people excited. "For every customer or partner attendee who is here with us live at this event -- physically at this event -- we will be giving each of you a Windows 8 device," he said, adding, "Sometime in the next several months, OK?" The audience laughed, but was quite pleased with the news.

Jason Zander, the corporate vice president in charge of the Visual Studio team, followed Somasegar with a presentation highlighting some key updates in Visual Studio 2012 and .NET Framework 4.5 that designed to help developers build applications for how people live today with their myriad of devices, which are often backed up to the cloud and connected to on-premise applications. Social media is another big element in these modern applications, observed Zander, and with technologies like Yammer, which Microsoft acquired this summer, it's increasingly used to collaborate with co-workers.

"The question for developers is how do we build such applications and do it with the fastest time to market?" he explained in his keynote blog. "We will need a system that allows us to build out business and transactional logic at scale, exposing things in a way that we can handle many heterogeneous device types, with team software to speed up delivery."

As with past events, Windows Phone was somewhat under the radar as Microsoft moves to a new operating system. However, Todd Brix announced in the Windows Phone Developer Blog on Wednesday that developers can now apply to participate in the Windows Phone SDK 8.0 Developer Preview. Microsoft will stop accepting applications on Sept. 17 at 5:00 p.m. (PDT). Visual Studio Express 2012 for Windows Phone is expected in the same timeframe as Windows Phone 8, which remains unclear despite recent weeks' handset announcements from Samsung and Nokia. Some reports suggest Windows Phone 8 will launch on Oct. 29, but Microsoft has not yet officially announced a date.

For more details on the Visual Studio 2012 launch, read the extended version of this article here.

About the Author

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


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