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Update 2 of Visual Studio 2012 Released

Visual Studio 2012 Update 2 is out of beta and officially available. Among the biggest upgrades, according to a blog entry by corporate V.P./Developer Division S. Somasegar, are improvements to Agile planning, Windows Store development and line-of-business development.

Most of the Agile updates center around Team Foundation Server (TFS), Microsoft's chief collaborative tool. They include work item tags (more on that here), a Connect dialog box in Team Explorer to locate different team project connections and projects, and more customization of backlog items through the Kanban board.

Unit testing, especially for Windows Store apps, also gets enhancements. Probably the key change here is the addition of Web access to the Test Case Management tools in TFS.  Developers can now author, edit, execute test cases and file bugs through the Web portal.

 For Windows Store app developers, a couple of welcome upgrades are improved diagnostics for JavaScript apps, and the latest Windows App Certification Kit.

For LOB apps, significant improvements include a beefed-up version of LightSwitch for building cross-browser and mobile Web clients with HTML and JavaScript. LightSwitch, a lightweight tool included free in Visual Studio 2012, also includes new support for creating SharePoint 2013 and Office 365 apps.

Visual Studio 2012 itself also gets some big improvements, including one that will likely appeal to the many developers still annoyed by Microsoft's decision to take out a lot of color in the IDE: a blue theme, to add to the current light and dark themes. In addition, the Blend UI design tool adds support for Silverlight, Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF) and Sketchflow. Efficiency improvements to IntelliTrace, XAML designer and debugging are also included.

The frequent release cycle of community technology previews (CTPs) of Update 2 is in line with Microsoft's increasingly Agile methods. It has pumped out one CTP per month in 2013, with January, February and March editions. Visual Studio 2012 Update 1 was released last November.

The update, which Microsoft has labeled VS2012.2, is available for download here. It doesn't require a restart to install, and is supported on both 32-bit and 64-bit processors.

Posted by Keith Ward on 04/05/2013 at 1:15 PM


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