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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