When Microsoft launched Visual Studio 2010, I remember thinking what a truly big thing it was. Support for SharePoint, Silverlight and Windows Azure development. Infrastructure improvements like Managed Extensibility Framework and the incorporation of Windows Presentation Foundation into the Visual Studio 2010 UI. And, of course, integrated support for a major new version of the Microsoft .NET Framework.
There was enough going on in Visual Studio 2010 that some industry watchers worried it could be getting too big for its own good. And yet, here we are, a little more than two years later, contemplating a significant update to the Microsoft flagship IDE. Call it the next big thing.
Our lead feature this month, written by Peter Vogel, offers a hands-on tour of the big changes in Visual Studio 2012. Vogel comes away genuinely impressed. As he put it to me, Visual Studio 2012 is an IDE with appeal that reaches far beyond the nascent ranks of Windows Store app developers and even .NET devs itching to work with the .NET Framework 4.5. And you don’t have to upgrade to the latest version of .NET to take advantage of the new IDE.
“I really like the consolidation and simplification changes in the UI, and think they’d make programmers more productive even without going to .NET 4.5,” Vogel explains, adding, “I’m going to use the new combined Solution Explorer with its Class View features a lot. It’s just a sweet design.”
Vogel singled out Solution Explorer as one of the biggest surprises in Visual Studio 2012, but he has high praise for the new Page Inspector troubleshooting feature. “Page Inspector just brings so many things together in one place and makes it clear how they’re driving your output. The fact that it’s ‘live’ is very impressive, also. I can play with my CSS or my HTML and see the impact almost right away.”
There’s a lot going on in Visual Studio 2012. To address it all, this month’s issue of MSDN Magazine includes no fewer than five feature articles focused on the new IDE. From an exploration of Windows Azure-focused tooling in Visual Studio 2012 to the capabilities of Microsoft Test Manager 2012, we dive into all the new features that make Visual Studio 2012 such a big thing for developers.
Ultimately, the value of Visual Studio 2012 isn’t in the laundry list of new features, but rather in the way the features and capabilities of the IDE are presented to developers. And in that regard, Vogel says, Visual Studio 2012 has impressed.
“My feeling is that, for any technology you’re working in, the tools you need are at hand,” he says.
I wanted to take a moment to welcome on board Mohammad Al-Sabt, the new editorial director of MSDN Magazine. Al-Sabt arrived about three months after the departure of former editorial director Kit George, who left to take on an opportunity with the Bing group at Microsoft.
To say that Al-Sabt hit the ground running is a gross understatement. You see, we’ve been working on an extra edition of MSDN Magazine focused entirely on Windows 8 development. It’s no small feat to produce an entire extra issue of a 100-page magazine between two regular monthly issues. But the achievement is all the greater when you consider that Al-Sabt arrived right in the middle of this critical project. He immediately jumped in with both feet and did a great job marshaling resources at Microsoft and making sure we were able to move the project forward.
The way I figure it, if Al-Sabt can get through that challenge, he’s good to handle just about anything. Welcome to the magazine, Mohammad.
Michael Desmond is the Editor-in-Chief of MSDN Magazine.
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