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Microsoft Visual Studio 2013 Update 3 RTM

Microsoft has announced the RTM ("Release to Manufacturing") liberation of Visual Studio 2013 Update 3, which includes Team Foundation Server 2013 Update 3. This final release is meant to convey Microsoft's core developer mantra at this time — i.e. efficient and collaborative tools to target multiple platforms (and yes Microsoft does mean iOS and Android) across mobile, tablet, and desktop form factors. All powered from the cloud, obviously.

Looking inside here, we find DevOps goodness in the shape of Release Management for Visual Studio 2013 Update 3, which can integrate with Windows PowerShell or the Windows PowerShell Desired State Configuration (DSC) and additional mobile services. Real cloud tools come next and that means Windows Azure Notification Hubs, which allow developers to send mobile push notifications to a Windows Store or Phone app (including WinRT, Phone, and Universal projects) from .NET Mobile Services as well as JavaScript-based Mobile Services.

Looking into the thorny world of performance and diagnostics, Microsoft wants us to have multi-monitor support: so after you move a Windows Store app to a different monitor while debugging, the app will reappear in that monitor the next time you start debugging. This feature sits close to code memory dump functionality. While developers are debugging a memory dump, they can now select a type and navigate to the type's definition or its references by using Go to Definition and Find All References.

Microsoft has split and shared some of these functionalities out across its Express and Ultimate editions, so it's worth checking closely depending on individual programmer needs.

The CPU Usage tool we first saw in Visual Studio 2013 Update 2 is now enhanced. With VS 2013 Update 3, developers can navigate from a function name in the Call Tree to the line of source code where the function is defined to the code that is using CPU power in any given application. A memory usage tool sits close by here, too.

The Force Garbage Collection option allows users to focus on objects that are important by "explicitly forcing a garbage collection" in an application to get rid of short-lived objects and objects in the Finalizer queue before taking a snapshot.

Upwards of a 10X Improvement

Microsoft says that native heap analysis completes faster than ever. According to the MSDN blog, "We delay load symbols for non-user assemblies until you explicitly turn off Just My Code. We have seen upwards of a 10X improvement in load times for large session files. [Also here we find] Application Insights Tools for Visual Studio, which have become "in the box" features in Update 3, allowing developers to access data on what users are doing with their apps, diagnose any issues, and ensure their service is available and responsive."

CodeLens support for Git repositories has been included for Update 3 so that CodeLens now works with Git to provide CodeLens indicators for authors and changes to code. Developers can also view the work items associated with a method, property, or class. These indicators are updated when a user commits, the Git repository is pulled or fetched, or the branch is changed.

New features with Code Map include links which are now styled with colors to make it easier to quickly understand the map. There is a "Legend" function to understand what each color represents.

Update 3 provides some ASP.NET improvements including Scaffolding, a code generation framework for ASP.NET web applications. Visual Studio 2013 includes code generators for MVC and Web API projects. Update 3 now provides ASP.NET 5.2 technologies (both MVC and Web API).

Developers will find Microsoft Azure WebJobs support here: "You can now add standard console projects to your Visual Studio solutions and publish them to Azure Websites as either continuous, triggered, or scheduled WebJobs. Console projects can also be published directly from the Visual Studio Solution Explorer as WebJobs to Azure Websites."

There is more to come. When we look at ASP.NET Web API 2.2 we find the Open Data Protocol (Odata), which is a data access protocol for the Web. OData provides a uniform way to query and manipulate data sets. Update 3 provides support for OData Core Libraries 6.4.0 so developers can use the Web API Client when targeting Windows Phone 8.1 in a Windows Phone app or a Universal App.

Also of note in brief as we finish here: This update includes Entity Framework 6.1.1, WebDeploy allows integration with SQL Server 2014, and for HTML and JavaScript development — with Update 3, the JavaScript language service now provides IntelliSense support for RequireJS modules.

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