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Visual Studio 2013 Update 2, CTP 2 Now Ready

TypeScript 1.0 is nearing reality.

More and more, it appears that the next update for Visual Studio 2013 will be a major one, far eclipsing Update 1.

On his blog, Developer Division Corporate Vice President S. Somasegar discussed the main new features of Visual Studio 2013 Update 2. They include a new version of Team Foundation Server and the first official version, 1.0, of TypeScript.

The final iteration of Update 2 is coming this spring, Somasegar wrote. The version released yesterday is the second Community Technology Preview (CTP), or CTP 2 of Update 2. The first CTP came out earlier this month. Update 1 contained mostly bug fixes, sprinkling in a few new capabilities. Update 2 goes far beyond that.

TypeScript 1.0 may be the most anticipated upgrade of the batch. TypeScript 1.0 Release Candidate (RC) is included in Update 2 CTP 2. TypeScript is a superset of JavaScript that allows developers to build larger, richer programs than using JavaScript alone. It compiles directly to JavaScript, and Update 2 moves support inside Visual Studio 2013, making it a first-class Visual Studio language. Somasegar described its popularity:

"TypeScript, first released in October 2012, has been a hit with developers both inside and outside Microsoft as it's evolvled toward 1.0.  Optional static typing, rich IDE features, and support for classes and modules provide foundations for robust software development for JavaScript developers."

The TypeScript 1.0 RC is available for Visual Studio 2012 as well as Visual Studio 2013, or in a standalone version as a power tool. The TypeScript blog explains that 1.0 simplifies the type system in several ways: the 'any' type works more consistently as a wildcard, and it clarifies when generic types are compatible. "We've replaced the more complex, and error-prone, approach of 0.9.5 with the simpler rule that a generic type is compatible with another type if, once instantiated with 'any' for all generic type parameters, the resulting type is compatible," the blog states.

In addition, TypeScript 1.0 RC has re-ordered the merging of overloads, so that overloads from later interfaces merge before those of earlier interfaces. The other big change is that lib.d.ts has been updated to include typings for touch and WebGL development, making it more HTML5-compliant.

Another big improvement in Update 2 CTP 2 is the go-live (i.e., able to be installed on production servers) version of Team Foundation Server 2013 Update 2. In some ways, it mirrors the updates already available for developers who have transitioned to Visual Studio Online, including better Git support, backlog management, more broad tagging support throughout Visual Studio, and upgrades to lightweight charting and CodeLens support.

Specifically, Somasegar pointed out that Update 2 supports "amending commits, pushing to multiple remotes and reverting a commit all within Visual Studio." It also includes many new abilities for Work Item tagging.

New Web developer tools are also part of Update 2 CTP 2, including a more capable JSON editor and debugger. Other Web tooling changes include updated ASP.NET templates that use the latest platform releases from Entity Framework and ASP.NET.

Additional upgrades affect developers working with Azure, such as the ability to auto-create an Azure Web site and SQL Azure databases at project creation time, simplifying deployment for test/dev. Some diagnostic tools, including IntelliTrace, also get updates.

A full description of the upgrades in Visual Studio 2013 Update 2 CTP 2 can be found in this Knowledgebase article. Somasegar mentioned in his blog that these changes are just a subset of the full range of upgrades coming in Update 2, so stay tuned for more.

About the Author

Keith Ward is the editor in chief of Virtualization & Cloud Review. Follow him on Twitter @VirtReviewKeith.

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