Cave dwelling developers and hermit programmers may have missed it, but most of the rest of the software application profession is aware that Microsoft's core development IDE, Visual Studio 2012, was officially released along with the .NET Framework 4.5 on September 12.
Focused for the first time on Windows 8 development, this iteration of Microsoft's central developer product is perhaps the result of more "re-engineering" than previous updates, which could perhaps be said to have been "augmented and finessed" rather than "repositioned" for a more radically new user environment.
As noted in Dr. Dobb's full review here, Visual Studio comes in multiple versions: Ultimate, Premium, Professional, Test Professional, and Express. The last of these is a free (as in beer) edition that contains a bare set of tools and a stripped-down IDE.
Microsoft says that it plans to run a continuous cycle of product updates on a year-round basis. The already planned Visual Studio 2012 Update 1 will offer new support of Agile teams, continuous quality enablement, SharePoint, and Windows development. Clearly then, the momentum of the general product release has already carried forward into this additional development.
This release will see the availability of Visual Studio Express 2012 for Windows Desktop. This free desktop-focused tool will ship with Express tools for building applications in C#, VB.NET, and C++.
As well as new support for Windows Embedded and what Microsoft says is "continued strong VSIP support", there are also new community language packs (VS2012 launches with 10 local languages) for developers to use a UI in their native tongue.
Also in the mix with this release are Visual Studio 2012 Productivity Power Tools, a branded name that Microsoft is using to group a set of enhancements, tools, and command-line utilities that the firm says will help developers accomplish tasks more efficiently.
Tool enhancements also go further here — according to Microsoft, "TFS Power Tools provide development teams everything they need to get the most out of their Team Foundation Server 2012 installation, including advanced backup tools, extensions for Windows Explorer as well as PowerShell, and a process template editor."
For an in depth and detailed review of this new release head to Microsoft Visual Studio 2012 Reviewed.