Visual Studio 2012 Update Coming in November

Update 1 is part of Microsoft’s new strategy of offering "continuous value" on a quarterly basis, in addition to Service Packs. The company released the final CTP on Monday.

Microsoft released what is likely the final Community Technology Preview (CTP) of Visual Studio 2012 Update 1 on Monday. This latest preview offers a look at the first quarterly updates for Visual Studio 2012, Team Foundation Server 2012 and Microsoft Test Manager.

Visual Studio 2012 was released in mid-August. Update 1 is part of Microsoft’s new strategy of offering "continuous value" on a quarterly basis, in addition to Service Packs.

Designated Visual Studio 2012 Update 1 CTP 3, the latest downloads include features first showcased in the early previews of the Quarterly Updates for Visual Studio 2012 (including IntelliTrace Collector) and Visual Studio Team Foundation Server 2012. The early previews were released on, or around September 19, 2012.

CTP 3 offers the first chance to check out targeting Windows XP in Visual C++ 2012 (without requiring side by side Visual Studio 2010 installation). The Windows XP support was added to the Visual Studio 2012 feature list in response to developer feedback. However, the Windows 8 SDK still does not support Windows XP, which required Microsoft to repackage headers and libraries from the Windows 7 SDK.

Microsoft’s Ibrahim Damlaj explained the reasoning behind this workaround in response to a question on the Visual C++ Team Blog:

The reason we have reintroduced the Windows 7 SDK is that the Windows 8 SDK has officially dropped support for Windows XP and Windows Server 2003. What this means is that the binaries under the “Windows Kits/8.0/bin” directory are no longer guaranteed to generate code that runs on Windows XP/2003. Additionally, the Windows 8 SDK headers and libs may have removed deprecated Windows XP APIs with no mitigation. [Y]ou may choose to target the standard SDK by not switching to v110_xp. However, if your application compiles and runs we cannot guarantee it will continue to do so in future releases and updates of Visual Studio.

Some Visual Studio 2012 features will not work on Windows XP applications, including static analysis, remote debugging and graphics debugging of DirectX 9, according to Microsoft. Targeting Windows XP in C++ will also be supported in Visual Studio Express 2012 for Windows Desktop, which was released last month.

Other features in the technology previews may require Visual Studio 2012 Premium or higher and, in some cases, Microsoft Test Manager. New test features include support for filtering and grouping of unit tests and code coverage for manually testing ASP.NET apps, according to the company. CTP 3 includes the ability to run and edit manual test cases from Team Foundation Server Web Access but to access these features in the latest preview, you need to use this redirect to the url. Microsoft has also added load testing and Coded UI support for SharePoint 2010 development.

CTP 3 offers the first look at Kanban support for Agile developers using Team Foundation Server 2012 (on-premise) for application lifecycle management. A Kanban board was added to the cloud-based Team Foundation Service preview in mid-August. Unlike the Task Board, which is focused on work items; the Kanban board is designed to help optimize a steady flow of work by offering visualization of workflows throughout an application's lifecycle (backlog, development, test, customer feedback) and limiting work in progress.

Visual Studio 2012 Update 1, which is slated for release in November, includes many other features available in the latest technology previews, and outlined in the Visual Studio ALM + Team Foundation Server Blog. Update 1 can be installed (and uninstalled) on top of the Visual Studio 2012 RTM, according to Microsoft, but the previews should not be used on production machines. Get the Visual Studio 2012 Update 1 CTP 3 downloads here.

About the Author

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

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Reader Comments:

Tue, Nov 27, 2012 Sander Bouwhuis Netherlands

The removal of quick macros is a huge problem for me. I now have to go to an external editor a couple of times a day to do them. Huge, huge miss. Also, the 'simplified' look is simply terrible. Every time I go back to an old project in VS 2010 I'm surprised how good it looks in comparison to 2012.

Sat, Nov 10, 2012 Mr Disappointed VS Purgatory

I can live with a change in the colour of the environment, what I do care about is the big drop in productivity I face with using VS2012 over 2010. The biggest is the removal of “Create Unit Test” feature. This is a big time saver in VS2010, I cannot believe it has been removed, now making unit tests in VS2012 is very time consuming and tedious – it is a process that can be (and was successfully in VS2012) automated. Also, I have found actually running unit tests in VS2012 is much slower than VS2010. For my simple application with 20 unit tests it now takes over 20 seconds to run all unit tests in VS2012, in VS2010 less than 1 second. Another big drawback in VS2012 is the removal of Ctrl + Shift + R to record and playback macros. This is a very useful feature in VS2010 I used almost every day for automating some repetitive tasks. I’m hoping that they fix these issues in an upgrade – because for now, for me VS2012 is a step backwards.

Fri, Oct 12, 2012

"I am now studying some competing technologies " - I hear ya... I too started branching out and as part of that decided to start releasing some iOS apps. Although I must say I really dislike developing for iOS. Not that it's bad or anything, it's certainly not, but it's just so darn tedious. Like anything you get the hang of it but,,,... I just want to release some good apps and honestly am not all that interested in iOS details and tricks,, it just doesn't 'do it' for me ya know. Even simple things which we take for granted with WP like auto kb dismissal, in iOS you have to explictly code for this which was one of those 'whaaaa? huh?? really!? oh.. okay' moments. Or the manual wiring-up of outlets and such. You think it'd 'just work' but nooooo. It's manual. These are not a big deal but they add up and are just a pain in the neck. So when I go back to working on the WP apps, I'm like 'Ahhhhhhhh!!!' with a big smile (unless I gotta use that VS2012 UI, ugghhhhhh). Microsoft is light years ahead in dev tools and platforms, but they just constantly do oh soooo many stupid things. I have hope though and am looking forward to developing for their upcoming W8/WP8 platforms.

Fri, Oct 12, 2012

Yeah. I consider myself an early adopter of many technologies, and I usually embrace changes when they are good (for example, the Office Ribbon, WPF, and so on). I am also open-minded about "Modern UI" because our end-users usually want simple UI with less clutter. However, for professional developers, the VS2012 UI is a complete disaster. I also recognize that Microsoft would love to be able to enforce a 30% commission on every desktop "app" sold, hence the strong push into "Modern UI". Their motivation isn't entirely to make better UI -- they could have just extended WPF with a full-screen and chrome-less mode, touch-friendly controls, charm APIs, and an improved "permissions" model, but no, they had to reinvent it again (with numerous limitations). And, they could have left the Visual Studio UI exactly as it was in VS2010 because it was way better than what they have now. I am now studying some competing technologies (Ruby, etc.), just to hedge my bets as a software developer.

Fri, Oct 12, 2012

Isn't it crazy that color and icons are even an issue..? It was dumb to drop them to begin with, and continues to be dumb. Yes there's a theme editor but why should we have to bother? Also the icons are just blahhh, making it hard to use, especially those in the solution explorer. So now we have a developing project over at codeplex whose goal is to reinject the 'real' icons back into VS2012 to make it usable! Just the most ridiculous situation.

Thu, Oct 11, 2012 Northern Virginia

I hope they are going to add some color back to the Icons. I can never find Debug|Show Next Statement. Finding which files have been added and need checking in is also a problem since the Add icon is 4 x 4 and the same color as no change. The Pending Changes and Test Explorer windows are confusing at best, limiting compared to 2010 in providing an easy way to filter and sort items. I actually still use 2010 to checkin parts of large changesets so I do not make a mistake. Adjustments need to be made to the GUI - if they had left the design wienies out, 2012 would be a better experience.

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