Microsoft has released Update 1 for Visual Studio 2012. New in this update is the ability to target Windows XP with C++ applications. Brian Harry has a list of what has changed here, based on the preview from a month ago.
There are many updates and fixes for Team Foundation Server (TFS), including support for the Kanban development methodology in TFS Web Access. You can now do load testing, unit testing and coded UI tests for SharePoint apps. Another notable fix is that you can do mixed managed/native debugging in Windows Store (that is, Metro) apps.
The TFS update is not seamless, as Harry explains:
It’s actually a full new install (though it will silently uninstall the older version and install the update so it feels like a “patch”). However, we still have some work to do to make this as seamless as possible. If you’ve done any customization of your TFS install (enabling https, changing ports, etc) you will need to reapply those customizations after installing the update.
Harry also says there will not be an SP1, except that there might be:
As we are currently thinking about it, there will be no SP1. We have changed the model from a single Service Pack between major releases to a sequence of “Updates”. So you can, kind of, think of Update 1 as SP1. I suppose it’s possible that, at some point, we will decide to name one of the Updates as an “SP” but that won’t really change anything.
Confused? Surely not.
You can get the update here or an offline (complete) installer is here.
Finally, I was interested to see some of the issues which developers find annoying highlighted in the comments to Soma Somasegar’s blog:
- XAML 2009 is not supported in the editor
- Expression Blend is still in preview
- The need for a developer license to build Windows Store apps is a constant irritation. The complaint is not about needing a license to deploy to the Store, but about Visual Studio refusing to build Windows Store apps unless you obtain a free online license, which installs some sort of key on your machine, and which expires after a few months.
No complaints about monochrome icons though, so I guess the new look has been accepted if not actually loved by developers.
During the Visual Studio 2012 launch last week I took the opportunity to ask Developer division Corp VP Soma Somasegar when Blend, Microsoft’s design tool for Visual Studio 2012, will be finished. A tricky question to answer, since there are multiple versions, as explained here:
- Blend for Windows Store apps (HTML or XAML) is fully released and available as part of Visual Studio 2012
- Blend for WPF and Silverlight is in preview. For production you are meant to use the old Blend 4, unless you are targeting Silverlight 5 where you have no choice but to use the preview version.
- Blend for Windows Phone is part of the Windows Phone SDK 7.1
The SketchFlow prototyping tool is also part of the preview Blend.
So when will Blend for Visual Studio 2012 be done? Somasegar refers to HBlend, which is the HTML version, and XBlend, which is for XAML.
“We shipped HBlend, and we shipped a preview of XBlend. It will take several months to finish. We also want to continue adding to HBlend. So I can’t tell you that Blend is ever going to be done [laughs],” he told me.
That said, the full Blend for Visual Studio 2012 will come out of preview sometime. Will it coincide with the first update for Visual Studio, announced for later this year?
“It is going to be later than the update, but I don’t have a specific timeframe,” he said.
Personally I have mixed (ha!) feelings about Blend. On the one hand, it is obvious that the simple designer in the Visual Studio IDE is insufficient, and that the rich Blend tool is needed, for those who can make sense of its intricate user interface. On the other hand, the designer aspect of Microsoft’s tooling seems to me messy, with too many versions of Blend and overlap between Blend and Visual Studio which gives developers a difficult choice: do I work with Blend, or stay within the simpler but more limited IDE tools?
Microsoft has created an Achievements extension for Visual Studio 2012. Borrowing from achievements in games such as those on Xbox 360, and perhaps also inspired by the Office Ribbon Hero, Visual Studio Achievements lets you earn awards for completing certain tasks, and share them on Facebook and Twitter. You can download Visual Studio Achievements from the Extension Gallery within the IDE.
Once installed, you will see a notification each time an achievement is unlocked.
You can also check your progress via the Achievements option in the Tools menu, though mine seems slow to update.
It sounds a terrible idea, though there are some entertaining ones. Here are a few I like:
Job Security (0 points)
Write 20 single letter class level variables in one file. Kudos to you for being cryptic! Uses FxCop
Regional Manager (7 points)
Add 10 regions to a class. Your code is so readable, if I only didn’t have to keep collapsing and expanding!
Interrupting Cow (5 points)
Have 10 breakpoints in a file.Where’s that bug? Could here, could be there, could be anywhere!
Architect (5 points)
Add 10 items to a sequence diagram. You’re not just a developer; you’re an architect!
You get the idea.
Microsoft is using this to do some not-so-subtle promotion, with plenty of Windows Azure achievements, though it seems to short on Windows 8 badges as yet.
Unfortunately Visual Studio crashed shortly after I installed this extension and I am suspicious.
All pretty silly; yet I like the idea of friendly notifications when you breach some coding guideline.
Microsoft has released the Release Candidate of Visual Studio 2012 (now the official name), which you can download here, to coincide with the release of Windows 8 Release Preview and Windows Server 2012 Release Preview.
Visual Studio also has a new logo, as you can see from the setup window below.
Microsoft’s Jason Zander has posted about the new release here. Some of the main areas of difference between the RC and the Beta are:
- Better performance
- User interface tweaks including the return of a little more colour to the product
- Solution Explorer filtering
- New Metro style app templates
- Improved XAML and Blend designers
- Updated ASP.NET 4.5 web forms to support the await keyword
- Tweaks to LightSwitch, Team Foundation Server, Architectural Tools
There is also a more detailed post by Scott Hanselman on what’s new in web development here.