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Visual Studio 2013 Update 3 Gets its First CTP

The Update comes fewer than two weeks after the official release of Update 2 at TechEd North America.

It's been about a year since Microsoft kicked off its new vision of quicker, smaller updates to Visual Studio, instead of a few massive updates every so often. As stated at the time by S. "Soma" Somasegar, corporate vice president of Microsoft's Developer Division:

"We wanted to get away from this old model where we deliver a version of Visual Studio today, and then you have to wait two years, three years, four years -- who knows how long you'd have to wait before we'd get you the next version.”

He wasn't joking. Fewer than two weeks since the release of Visual Studio 2013 Update 2, along comes the first public version of Visual Studio 2013 Update 3 -- Community Technology Preview (CTP) 1.  

Update 3 appears to be a fairly minor upgrade, with no significant new features. That doesn't mean it has nothing of interest for developers, however. Improvements have been made in a number of areas, including:

  • IntelliTrace, which is now more tightly integrated with Application Insights.
  • Profiler, with an expanded Performance and Diagnostics hub.
  • Testing tools, which now allows custom fields and custom work flows for test plans and test suites.
  • The Visual Studio IDE, with numerous enhancements to CodeLens, Code Map, Debugger Map and binary functionality.
  • The Debugger has one interesting upgrade: debugging is now supported for x86 applications built in .NET Native. .NET Native, released as a developer preview in April, is a compiler that strikes a compromise between the performance of C++ native code and the efficiency of C# managed code. The first release of .NET Native only supported x64 architecture.

Microsoft believes that smaller updates that come out more often are advantageous to developers. "Knowing that people are picking it [Visual Studio] up in a timely manner and starting to use it validates our theory that we need to be getting more things out to our customer base faster," Somasegar said in a previous interview.

It appears that no other major product in the Microsoft line is updated as quickly as Visual Studio:

  • Visual Studio 2013: Oct. 18, 2013
  • Release Candidate 1, Update 1: Dec. 9, 2103
  • Update 1: Jan. 20
  • Update 2: May 12
  • Update 3, CTP 1: May 22

Update 2 was a much bigger upgrade than Update 1, accounting for the four month gap between releases. Although Microsoft didn't specify a timetable for the official release of Update 3, it's likely to be shorter than the interval between Update 1 and Update 2 because of its more minor nature.

About the Author

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

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