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Visual Studio 2013 Update 3 Rolls Up New Features, Bug Fixes

Also released today: Azure SDK 2.4 for .NET.

Microsoft's Visual Studio Team says it has released to manufacturing Visual Studio 2013 Update 3, which contains a bevy of new features and incremental improvements, and also rolls up refreshes of toolings that have been released incrementally over the last few months. Many of the improvements and new features are aimed at streamlining web development, according to a blog posted by Xinyang Qiu, a senior software development engineer for test with the the ASP.NET team.

With that, the team also announced a point release for the Azure SDK, with many of the features of VS 2013 U3 having tighter integration with that kit. Azure Developer Experience Lead Program Manager Mohit Srivastava describes the tooling features of version 2.4 in a separate blog post. One improvement is to WebJobs, a VS 2013 feature for running background code within a Website. Prior to this release, WebJobs had to be published from the portal or through Azure PowerShell; now, it can be done within VS 2013 itself.

On the mobile development side, VS 2013 U3 also now supports .NET Mobile Services from within the Push Notification Wizard. What that allows developers to do is add push notifications to Windows Phone and Windows Store apps. Developers can also create a mobile service to accompany projects for use as a dev/test environment. and have it provisioned from an Azure cloud. For those who like to get granular with Notification Hubs, VS 2013 U3 now allows developers to view and delete device registrations, edit tags, and get summary information of registrations by platform.

The Azure SDK 2.4 for .NET comes with several improvements, particular. It allows for remote debugging of 32-bit VMs; installation and configuration of VMs, including dynamic extensions; and ability to create VM snapshots of disk state. Also new: diagnostic views of storage logs; ability to provision read-access geo-redundant storage from VS 2013; and the use of Emulator Express by default for new projects.

The version of PowerShell that accompanies the SDK also comes with a list of new and updated features, detailed in this blog.

Here's a quick look specifically at VS 2013 U3 improvements detailed in Qiu's blog post:

  • Scaffolding: Qiu writes that "scaffolding will correctly detect what are the versions of NuGet packages that the project is using. For example, if the project is still using ASP.NET MVC 5.1.2, then scaffolding will use 5.1.2, instead of 5.2."
  • JSON Editor: Auto-formatting is on by default as a project is created, but can also be turned off; brace matching is now similar to what you'd see in C# and JavaScript editors.
  • CSS Editor: Improved Selector Level 4 Intellisense, which means more selector patterns to choose from; drag-and-drop fonts, images, and .css files from Solution Explorer into .css files.
  • Security: Supports two-factor authentication in MVC templates used with One ASP.NET templates.
  • Facebook: Moved ASP.NET Facebook package to NuGet as a Visual Studio Extension, now available in the Visual Studio Gallery.
  • Active Directory: Allows creation of ASP.NET via Azure Active Directory when logged into a Microsoft Account.

There's quite a bit in this release, and much that you might miss on first reading. An ars Technica article also highlights one feature that it says is a pretty big one for VS devs: Title Case as an option for menu bars. It isn't mentioned in Qiu's blog.

VS 2013 U3 also rolls up the latest versions of Entity Framework 6.1.1 (released in June), a refresh of WebDeploy 3.5 that integrates with SQL Server 2014, and II Express 8.0 that includes the hotfixes from June 2014, and a number of other tools.

About the Author

You Tell 'Em, Readers: If you've read this far, know that Michael Domingo, Visual Studio Magazine Editor in Chief, is here to serve you, dear readers, and wants to get you the information you so richly deserve. What news, content, topics, issues do you want to see covered in Visual Studio Magazine? He's listening at mdomingo@1105media.com.

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