Microsoft is releasing Visual Studio 2012, the latest iteration of its Visual Studio developer tool suite. The IT giant says new features of the latest edition are designed to help developers “turn ideas into applications fast.”

Upgrades to Visual Studio 2012 start with a redesigned interface with streamlined workflows and simplified toolbars. Visual Studio 2012 also delivers new templates, designers, and testing and debugging tools for the Windows 8 OS, as well as a visual toolkit. Developers have the option of selling apps they create through the Windows Store.


"Windows Store" is what Microsoft now calls what were previously known as "Metro-style" apps developed using the Microsoft WinRT API. Microsoft has been phasing out the term "Metro" as a description of its modern design philosophy for about a month.

Other features include support for standards such as HTML5, CSS3 and the latest upgrades to ASP.NET, access to cloud servers and tools for taking apps to the Windows Azure cloud platform. Furthermore, Microsoft has also upgraded SharePoint with features like LightSwitch, which is designed to minimize the code required to write new applications.

Recognizing Shifts in the IT Landscape

According to PC World, Visual Studio 2012 “bends to the shifting IT landscape” and its integrated development environment “reflects many of the changes that challenge developers, including mobility and cloud computing.”

Specifically, PC World credits Microsoft with recognizing that employees expect to perform their tasks across a wide range of devices,  including tablets and smartphones, as well as the growing popularity of agile software development. PC World says that when Visual Studio is used in conjunction with Microsoft's Team Foundation Server 2012 application lifecycle management product, organizations can specify which developers are involved in the project, as well as set a path for development, testing, updating and deployment of a new application.

One critique the article makes is of the revamped Visual Studio 2012 user interface. IDC development software analyst Al Hilwa terms it “bold and risky” and warns developers may find it distracting and lacking in flexibility and color.

Microsoft Preps for Windows 8

As reported by CMSWire in July, Microsoft is making a multifaceted push toward the expected October 26 formal release date of Windows 8, which is currently available in preview mode and has been released to manufacturing. The release of Visual Studio 2012 is part of larger preparations for the widespread availability of Windows 8. These preparations include new features released for the Azure platform in June 2012, as well as upgrades to the Microsoft Expression Blend user interface tool released last month and the unveiling of the Office 2013 preview in July.

Kentico Supports Visual Studio 2012

Customer experience management technology vendor Kentico is wasting no time in jumping on the Visual Studio 2012 bandwagon,announcing today that Kentico CMS 7 provides full support for both Visual Studio 2012 and the Microsoft .NET 4.5 Framework. They won't be the last to make this announcement either.