At the Visual Studio 2012 and .NET launch event in September S. Somasegar (Soma), Corporate Vice President of the Developer Division at Microsoft, talked about Microsoft’s strong commitment to delivering continuous value through their new approach for providing updates to Visual Studio on a regular cadence of shorter intervals. On November 26th Soma announced the first of these updates to the already powerful Visual Studio 2012.
The first update for Visual Studio 2012 addresses a several issues that have been reported via Connect and Windows Error Reporting. Including fixes and enhancements, Update 1 also delivers an abundance of new functionality to Visual Studio 2012. Though most new features are limited to Ultimate and Premium versions of the software, some features have also been added to the Professional and Express products as well. Update 1’s new features hit four main areas: Windows development, SharePoint development, agile teams, and continuous quality.
A big focus in this update was in enabling developers to build superior apps. To support the new Windows 8 platform, Visual Studio 2012 added new designers, templates and debugging & testing tools, including support for Windows Store apps with the Windows 8 simulator. The first update also includes support for mixed-mode debugging of Windows apps, and adds native ARM dump debugging.
Update 1 adds code analysis support for Windows Phone 8 apps. It might appear that all the focus is on new windows platforms but this update also allows you to target XP with C++ applications in Visual Studio 2012.
Microsoft invested in beefing up their lifecycle tools for SharePoint 2012, focusing specifically on testing and quality assurance. Now you can use coded UI tests and unit tests for simulating user interaction, including the Microsoft Fakes Framework to stub out SharePoint dependencies. New load testing allows you to simulate load and network conditions for SharePoint applications. Additionally, you’re now able to capture SharePoint logging information using IntelliTrace to provide a robust analytic experience for SharePoint apps.
With Visual Studio 2012, Microsoft introduced a wealth of features to support agile teams, from stakeholders to developers to testers to project managers, and Update 1 further builds upon this focus. Team Server Foundation’s web interface has been much improved with significant usability enhancements. Functionality that first appeared in Team Foundation Server, like Kanban support with a Kanban board and cumulative flow diagram, is included in Update 1 as well. Update 1 has also greatly improved the source viewing experience. In the Integrated Development Environment, Code Maps enable you to create and view dynamic visualizations of relevant code to understand and navigate its relationships faster.
Last but not least, enabling continuous quality is a key focus area for Update 1, beyond the Windows and SharePoint testing features already mentioned. This spans testing at all levels, from the management of tests to their execution. Update 1 supports cross-browser testing, with the ability to record web tests in Internet Explorer and then replay them later with most browsers. You can now group and run tests, using Test Explorer, based on their traits: Test category, Test Property, Priority, and Owner. To help you analyze which areas of code base are used during testing, code coverage for automated tests is now available for manual testing too. With Update 1 you can now pause and resume manual testing sessions with Microsoft Test Manager, and then automatically create image logs of all actions that were performed during a testing session.
Microsoft Visual Studio 2012 is available through licensing in four editions: Ultimate, Premium, Professional and Test Professional editions.
Check out this video from Microsoft Developer Network’s Visual Studio Toolbox for a more in depth look at the Visual Studio 2012 Update 1: