Visual Studio 2012, .NET Framework 4.5 Set for Release Aug. 15
The official launch is coming Sept. 12
Visual Studio 2012 and the .NET Framework 4.5 are build complete and will be available to Microsoft-focused developers starting Aug. 15.
Jason Zander, Microsoft's Corporate Vice President for Visual Studio, made the announcement on his blog this morning. "The engineering team is finished and is now preparing the build for our numerous distribution channels," he wrote. The official launch of Visual Studio 2012 is set for Sept. 12.
The announcement was made the same day that Microsoft released Windows 8 to manufacturing. The timing isn't coincidental; Microsoft knows it needs its army of developers to write software for Windows 8, and that's a primary focus for the changes in both Visual Studio 2012 and the .NET Framework 4.5. Those two tools together will form the backbone of Windows 8 application development, including Metro-style applications, which Microsoft hopes will help it catch up with Apple and Google in the mobile space.
A long list of the updated features in both Visual Studio 2012 and .NET Framework 4.5 can be found in a late May blog posting by Zander. One thing he cautions developers: if you want to develop Metro apps, you'll need to have some version of Windows 8 on your work machine.
Some of many Metro-specific additions found in Visual Studio 2012 include style templates; upgraded XAML and Blend designers; the Animation library; PowerPoint Storyboarding; and a new DLL project template for C++ development.
Visual Studio 2012 will be available in a number of versions:
- Ultimate. The top-level version includes all the tooling, and the collaboration-tuned Team Foundation Server. Some of the tooling exclusive to this sku is Web performance testing and load testing, and IntelliTrace for debugging.
- Premium. The next step down offers many of the same diagnostic and testing tools, but without the high- level architecture and modeling support found in Ultimate. It's missing, for example, Architecture Explorer and Layer Diagrams. It offers many more testing tools than Professional, however.
- Professional. The lowest-level paid product, Professional naturally offers fewer capabilities than the others, but still includes a lot of functionality, including LightSwitch, Unit Testing and basic debugging and code analysis.
- Express. The free version of Visual Studio 2012 is platform-centric (Windows 8 Metro, Windows Phone, Windows Azure), with multiple language support.
As another inducement to upgrade, Microsoft is offering developers of the paid versions of Visual Studio 2012 (who are also MSDN subscribers) a free, one year account with Windows Store.
Keith Ward is the editor in chief of Visual Studio Magazine.