Today sees the launch of Visual Studio 2013 and .NET 4.5.1. For this release, Microsoft is getting out the big guns and also launching a collection of developer services to run on Windows Azure called "Visual Studio Online."
This is very clearly set out as a desktop IDE + cloud developer experience. Microsoft is talking about "devices and services transformation" for its cloud operating-system vision and how the developer is the pivotal to this trend.
Visual Studio 2013
A detailed review of Visual Studio 2013 was posted yesterday in our features section.
Microsoft explains that some of the new features in VS2013 first appeared as "experiments" in the Visual Studio Power Tools extension before being refined and incorporated into Visual Studio.
In addition to the changes to the coding experience that are explained and illustrated in the review, some interesting technologies are included, such as hosted source control, work item tracking, agile planning, build and load testing services (that were all part of Team Foundation Service) are now available in "public preview" as part of Visual Studio Online.
"For teams, Visual Studio 2013 and Team Foundation Server 2013 offer new capabilities from Agile Portfolio Management and a rich set of Release Management features to automate deployment and do continuous delivery on the cloud, to support for Git source control, to the new Team Room feature," said Microsoft Developer Division VP Soma Somasegar.
Visual Studio Online
Also key in terms of new functions we will be able to enjoy is Visual Studio Online Application Insights. This is a new service intended to provide a 360-degree view of so-called "application health," with that well-being having been based upon data about factors such as availability, performance, and usage.
The list of new features and functions is extensive and developers will do well to read the What's New post by Soma Somasegar. It is important here to also call out Visual Studio Online Monaco — this is described as a "coding environment for the cloud, in the cloud" and Microsoft says that it offers lightweight, friction-free developer usage in the browser for targeted Azure development scenarios.
This includes support for live debugging Azure sites from Visual Studio. This means you can set a breakpoint in a running service in the cloud, then step through it directly from Visual Studio.
"The new Cloud Business Application project type lets you build next-generation business applications leveraging Office 365 and Azure. Features like Energy Profiling and UI Responsiveness diagnostics make it easier than ever to build 5-star applications for the Windows Store," he said.
In addition, Microsoft and Xamarin are collaborating to help .NET developers broaden the reach of their applications to additional devices, including iOS and Android.
PRICING NOTE: Visual Studio Online is free for teams up to 5 users. The combination of Visual Studio Express and the free plan for Visual Studio Online is hoped to make it simple for developers to get Visual Studio Online is also included as part of MSDN subscriptions.
The coding experience for Windows Store apps has been enhanced in Visual Studio 2013 so that the XAML editor now provides advances in IntelliSense, which is now also available for data binding, template binding, and resources.
"Visual Studio 2013 provides the ideal toolset for building modern applications that leverage the next wave in Windows platform innovation (Windows 8.1), while supporting devices and services across all Microsoft platforms. Support for Windows Store app development in Windows 8.1 includes many updates to the tools, controls and templates, new Coded UI test support for XAML apps, UI Responsiveness Analyzer and Energy Consumption profiler for XAML & HTML apps, enhanced memory profiling tools for HTML apps, and improved integration with the Windows Store," said Somasegar.
He also notes that Blend for XAML has been enhanced with significant new capabilities for Windows Store app design, such as the addition of rulers and custom guides for more precise content layout as well as improved styling capabilities.
There are also debugging and optimization improvements as well as expanded ALM support, so yes you got the picture, this is a massive release for Microsoft that appears to have been engineered with cloud, productivity, and collaborative workflow needs. As Mr. Somasegar would say himself, Namaste!