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Microsoft Visual Studio 2013 Update 3 CTP

Largely unreported across the IT news landscape is news this month of Microsoft Visual Studio 2013 Update 3 (this is "only" a Community Technology Preview (CTP) of Visual Studio 2013 Update 3).

Improvements center on Visual Studio features including IntelliTrace, CodeLens, debugging functions, and developer testing tools. A selection of other "early preview stage" functions are also included.

As detailed to key developer press attending Microsoft TechEd North America recently, the company will update Release Management for Visual Studio 2013. This enhancement has been brought forward to ease configuration, automation, and management of on-premise and Microsoft Azure VM-based cloud infrastructures.

Debugger Delights

Back to the debugger then — users with more than one monitor will benefit from Visual Studio now being able to remember on which monitor a particular Windows Store application was last run. Developers will also be able to debug x86 applications built by .NET Native with the new update. Additionally, when analyzing managed memory dump files, programmers can go to Definition and Find All References of the selected type.

So .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. Dr Dobb's readers will remember that the first release of .NET Native only supported x64 architecture.

According to Microsoft, with this preview release, developers can now simplify and streamline their release process by using Windows PowerShell or the Windows PowerShell Desired State Configuration (DSC) feature to deploy and manage configuration data. Developers can deploy to Microsoft Azure or on-premises environments without having to set up Microsoft Deployment Agent.

Program director for software development research at 
IDC Al Hilwa thinks that the VS team is "really on a roll" and that although the latest release is relatively minor coming on the heels of two other more significant updates earlier this year, it is "really dizzying" how fast Microsoft is moving, especially since the two major releases before it were only a year apart.

"The innovation is moving in the industry and tools are enablers that sit at the headwaters of innovation, so it is not unreasonable. You also have to consider that a lot of this is because Microsoft is re-aligning its ecosystem to snap to the Web ecosystem (Cordova), and bringing phone and tablet closer together with Universal apps. Both were parts of Update 2, which only came out a month ago," said Hilwa.

At the same time as this update to Visual Studio, Microsoft also previewed technologies to support software application developers who want to focus on cross-platform mobile development in line with what we can call "cloud-optimized" Web development with ASP.NET.

Microsoft Developer VP S. Somasegar has said, "We are committed to enabling developers to build apps for this heterogeneous, mobile-first world with Visual Studio for the technology of your choice — whether .NET, C++, or JavaScript."

The CTP of Visual Studio 2013 Update 3 is available to download from the Pre-release Software Downloads page and a additional knowledgebase notes are available for users.


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