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Visual Studio 2013 Preview Details Emerge

Microsoft Developer Division VP Soma Somasegar has been detailing the Visual Studio 2013 Preview and .NET 4.5.1 Preview that were made available to developers at the Build 2013 conference.

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Around 5000 developers gathered to listen to Microsoft's vision for its next generation of software development platforms and tools. Although the Visual Studio 2013 Preview was initially announced at TechEd North America 2013 a few weeks ago, this announcement served as the official unveiling in many ways.

Developers, Developers, Developers, DevOps

Microsoft no longer simply repeats developers, developers, developers; its new mantra is developers, developers, developers, DevOps. As such, we find that there is new support for agile portfolio management, cloud-based load testing, a team room integrated with TFS, code comments integration with TFS, and Git support.

Microsoft's core themes for both of these new products hinge around a promise of development, design, and diagnostics tools for Windows 8.1 — so at this time we also see the launch of the Windows 8.1 Preview.

NOTE: Windows 8.1 will be a free update for Windows 8 consumers later this year through the Windows Store.

Microsoft notes that when it comes to the Windows 8.1 preview, Windows will continue to offer developers a choice of programming language (C#, C++, JavaScript, or VB), a choice of presentation technology (XAML, HTML, or DirectX), and a choice of business model via the Windows Store.

Now that the Visual Studio 2013 Preview and .NET 4.5.1 Preview are now available for download as "go-live" releases, we can also see that Visual Studio 2013 includes improvements to support async debugging. Somasegar says that previously, it could be very difficult for a developer stopped at a breakpoint to know the asynchronous sequence of calls that brought them to the current location.

"Now in Visual Studio 2013, the Call Stack window surfaces this information, factoring in new diagnostics information provided by the runtime. Further, when an application stops making visible forward progress, it's often difficult to diagnose and understand what asynchronous operations are currently in flight such that their lack of completion might be causing the app to hang. In Visual Studio 2013, the Tasks window (formerly called Parallel Tasks in Visual Studio 2010 and Visual Studio 2012) now includes details on these async operations so that you can break into your app in the debugger and easily see and navigate to everything that's in flight," he said.

Along with Visual Studio 2013, Microsoft announced .NET 4.5.1, which installs as part of Visual Studio 2013 Preview. Somasegar explains that much of his team's work in this release of .NET is on improving the debugging and general diagnostics experience for developers.

"As just one example, .NET developers have been asking for a feature that's been available to C++ developers for a while: viewing method return values in the debugger, even if those values are never stored into any declared variable. With .NET 4.5.1 and Visual Studio 2013, this capability is now built-in" he said.

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