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Azure Tools Release History

Updated: September 29, 2014

In this topic, you can find information about past releases of Azure Tools for Visual Studio prior to July 2014, including which features each release includes and each Visual Studio product supports. For information about the current release, see the Release Notes for the Azure SDK for .NET. For example, for version 2.5, see Azure SDK for .NET 2.5 Release Notes.

In this topic

noteNote
For information about what's new in the Azure platform, the Azure SDK, and the Azure Management Portal, see What's New in Azure.

 

Task Supported in the following Visual Studio products Description

Debug virtual machines and debug managed and native code in Azure.

  • Visual Studio 2012

  • Visual Studio 2013

  • Visual Studio Express 2012 for Web

  • Visual Studio Express 2013 for Web

By using Server Explorer in Visual Studio, you can enable remote debugging of Azure virtual machines and attach to managed and native processes in Azure virtual machines. See Debugging a Cloud Service or Virtual Machine in Visual Studio.

Create virtual machines from Server Explorer.

  • Visual Studio 2012

  • Visual Studio 2013

  • Visual Studio Express 2012 for Web

  • Visual Studio Express 2013 for Web

By using Server Explorer in Visual Studio, you can easily create Azure virtual machines. See Create and Manage Azure Virtual Machines in Visual Studio.

Run Visual Studio without elevated privileges, now that Emulator Express is the default compute emulator.

  • Visual Studio 2012

  • Visual Studio 2013

  • Visual Studio Express 2012 for Web

  • Visual Studio Express 2013 for Web

See Using Emulator Express to Run and Debug a Cloud Service Locally.

Automatically create a virtual machine or Azure Website when you create a project, and then publish to it in Visual Studio. Using these scripts, you can create Dev and Test environments which you can use to develop and test your application.

  • Visual Studio 2012

  • Visual Studio 2013

  • Visual Studio Express 2012 for Web

  • Visual Studio Express 2013 for Web

You can request Azure resources such as virtual machines and websites to be created when you create a new web project. Visual Studio generates Windows PowerShell scripts and a JSON configuration file that contain details about your deployment and that you can customize, extend, and integrate with your automated build and testing systems.

Also, you can easily edit the scripts in Visual Studio. Visual Studio 2013 Update 2 supports syntax coloring in the Visual Studio editor for PowerShell and JSON files. See Using Windows PowerShell Scripts to Publish to Dev and Test Environments.

Send test notifications to mobile services apps.

  • Visual Studio 2012

  • Visual Studio 2013

  • Visual Studio Express 2012 for Web

  • Visual Studio Express 2013 for Web

You can now send push notifications interactively to an Azure Mobile Services client app from Server Explorer by using a notification hub. See How to send push notifications to a running app.

Use Azure Storage 3.0, the improved and updated storage emulator and storage client.

  • Visual Studio 2012

  • Visual Studio 2013

  • Visual Studio Express 2012 for Web

  • Visual Studio Express 2013 for Web

The Storage Client Library for .NET version 3.0, previously released only on NuGet, is included in Azure SDK 2.3. This library adds support for the JSON protocol when using tables, as well as compatibility with the new features released in November 2013, including Read Access Geo-Redundant Storage (RA-GRS). The storage emulator also now supports the November 2013 REST features, such as JSON and CORS. For more information, see Azure Storage 3.0.

 

Task Supported in the following Visual Studio products Description

Sign in to Azure with your Microsoft account to make it easier to manage subscriptions.

  • Visual Studio 2012

  • Visual Studio 2013

  • Visual Studio Express 2012 for Web

  • Visual Studio Express 2013 for Web

When you sign in to Azure with your Microsoft account, your subscriptions are imported automatically. There is no need to download a subscription file (.publishsettings file), although for backward compatibility, you can still use your existing subscription files in the same way as before. See Getting Started with the Azure Tools for Visual Studio and, for more details on managing accounts and subscriptions, see Manage Subscriptions and Storage Accounts in the Azure Management Portal.

Use the Visual Studio debugger to debug deployed cloud services in Azure.

  • Visual Studio 2012

  • Visual Studio 2013

  • Visual Studio Express 2012 for Web

  • Visual Studio Express 2013 for Web

It is now easy to debug cloud services and Azure websites directly in Azure. Simply choose to enable remote debugging when you deploy a cloud service, and attach to a role or instance from Server Explorer. See Debugging a Cloud Service or Virtual Machine in Visual Studio.

WarningWarning
This feature is made available as a community technology preview (CTP).

If you have a Visual Studio level MSDN subscription, you can create a virtual machine in Azure that includes Visual Studio 2013.

  • Visual Studio 2013

In Azure, a pre-built virtual machine is available to MSDN subscribers that includes Visual Studio 2013. Visual Studio-level MSDN subscribers can also install Visual Studio 2013 on custom virtual machines created in Azure. See Visual Studio 2013 Gallery image for MSDN subscribers and Accessing Azure Virtual Machines from Server Explorer for more information.

 

Task Supported in the following Visual Studio products Description

In Server Explorer, instantly view information about running cloud services, storage accounts, virtual machines, and service bus resources.

Also in Server Explorer, filter your view of resources by subscription, region, or both to show only the information that you care about right now.

  • Visual Studio 2010 with Service Pack 1 (SP1)

  • Visual Studio 2012

  • Visual Studio 2013

  • Visual Web Developer 2010 with SP1

  • Visual Studio Express 2012 for Web

  • Visual Studio Express 2013 for Web

In Server Explorer, several changes make it easier to work with Azure resources.

  • Information is automatically populated so that you don’t have to request the information on each node to see the information.

  • You can filter the resources that appear so that you can focus on your current work without being distracted by information from unrelated projects. See How to: Filter Azure Resources in Server Explorer.

  • Nodes for cloud services are now labeled by deployment so that you can easily locate Production and Staging deployments.

Run Visual Studio as a normal user by using Emulator Express.

  • Visual Studio 2010 with Service Pack 1 (SP1)

  • Visual Studio 2012

  • Visual Studio 2013

  • Visual Web Developer 2010 with SP1

  • Visual Studio Express 2012 for Web

  • Visual Studio Express 2013 for Web

By using Emulator Express, you can run your cloud services locally without requiring elevated permissions. Therefore, you can run Visual Studio as a normal user. However, this approach has limitations. See Using Emulator Express to Run and Debug a Cloud Service Locally.

Manage Azure Virtual Machines from Server Explorer.

  • Visual Studio 2010 with Service Pack 1 (SP1)

  • Visual Studio 2012

  • Visual Studio 2013

  • Visual Web Developer 2010 with SP1

  • Visual Studio Express 2012 for Web

  • Visual Studio Express 2013 for Web

You can manage the state your virtual machines in Azure from Server Explorer in Visual Studio. Instead of losing the state of your virtual machine when you stop it, you can now stop the virtual machine and leave it in an inactive state until you need that machine again. When you need it again, you can restart it without losing any changes that you made. See Accessing Azure Virtual Machines from Server Explorer.

 

Task Supported in the following Visual Studio products Description

Customize diagnostic data collection for a running role, a running instance, or for the deployment as a whole.

  • Visual Studio 2010 with Service Pack 1 (SP1)

  • Visual Studio 2012

  • Visual Web Developer 2010 with SP1

  • Visual Studio Express 2012 for Web

You can configure the type of diagnostic information that Azure collects, including logs and traces from your application, performance counters, event logs, diagnostics logs, logs from Internet Information Services (IIS), and crash dumps. For more information, see Configuring Diagnostics for Azure Cloud Services and Virtual Machines.

Create tables in Azure storage, and edit table data.

  • Visual Studio 2010 with Service Pack 1 (SP1)

  • Visual Studio 2012

  • Visual Web Developer 2010 with SP1

  • Visual Studio Express 2012 for Web

You can create tables and directly edit table data in Server Explorer. By using the Query Builder, you can also customize the kinds of data elements (called entities) that appear in a table. For more information, see Browsing and Managing Storage Resources with Server Explorer.

 

Task Supported in the following Visual Studio products Description

Target the .NET Framework 4.5 and Windows Server 2012

  • Visual Studio 2012

  • Visual Studio Express 2012 for Web

You can create projects that target the .NET Framework 4.5 and that will run on Windows Server 2012 virtual machines.

You can change the target framework for existing projects to the .NET Framework 4.5, as long as you manually reset the osFamily setting in the .csdef file for your project. For more information and instructions, see Managing Operating System and Framework Versions.

Easily work with storage account resources from Server Explorer. View, upload, and edit blobs in your storage accounts. Create Azure queues, and send messages to them, all without writing any code.

  • Visual Studio 2010 with Service Pack 1 (SP1)

  • Visual Studio 2012

  • Visual Web Developer 2010 with SP1

  • Visual Studio Express 2012 for Web

You can manage storage account resources (blobs, tables, and queues) by using Server Explorer. With the ability to create and edit these resources from Visual Studio, you can now get started more quickly without writing a lot of code to create and set up these resources. You can also more easily test your cloud services by using Azure queues and sending messages to them to test the behavior of the services. For more information, see Browsing and Managing Storage Resources with Server Explorer.

Automatically download storage account information from your subscription.

  • Visual Studio 2010 with Service Pack 1 (SP1)

  • Visual Studio 2012

  • Visual Web Developer 2010 with SP1

  • Visual Studio Express 2012 for Web

You can easily download the connection information for the storage account of your choice from your Azure subscription. You no longer have to log into the Management Portal, navigate to your storage account, copy a subscription ID or storage account name, and then paste it into Visual Studio. For more information, see Setting Up Services Required to Publish a Cloud Service from Visual Studio.

Publish to specific data centers, thereby ensuring that your cloud services and storage accounts run in the same data center.

  • Visual Studio 2010 with Service Pack 1 (SP1)

  • Visual Studio 2012

  • Visual Web Developer 2010 with SP1

  • Visual Studio Express 2012 for Web

You can easily verify that your cloud service is deployed to the same data center as the storage account that your service uses. The Publish Wizard displays the data center location so that you can control this important setting. For more information, see Publish Azure Application Wizard.

Publish to an Azure appliance directly from the Azure Publish Wizard.

  • Visual Studio 2010 with Service Pack 1 (SP1)

  • Visual Studio 2012

  • Visual Web Developer 2010 with SP1

  • Visual Studio Express 2012 for Web

An Azure appliance is a privately hosted instance of Azure. If you have access to a cloud appliance, you can publish to it by providing the service management URL.

Debug web pages by using the ASP.NET page inspector.

  • Visual Studio 2012

  • Visual Studio Express 2012 for Web

You can open the page inspector by opening the shortcut menu for a web project and then choosing View In Page Inspector. The page inspector provides internal information that’s often useful for debugging. For more information, see Using Page Inspector in ASP.NET MVC.

WarningWarning
The format of .publishsettings files have changed with this release. You can't use an earlier version of the Azure Tools to open a .publishsettings file that was created with the 1.8 version. You can use the 1.8 version to open .publishsettings files that were created with earlier versions of the tools. You can determine whether a .publishsettings file uses the new format by opening it in a text editor and looking for the SchemaVersion element. If the file contains the element <SchemaVersion="2.0">, the file is in the 1.8 format. If you try to use an earlier version to open a file that's in the 1.8 format, the file fails to open, and the following error message appears: The file File.publishsettings does not contain valid publish settings for Azure.

An update to the Azure Tools (Version 1.71) was released in August 2012. The 1.71 release is required for use with Visual Studio 2012 but contains no other features. The other components of the Azure SDK weren't updated for the 1.71 release.

 

Task Supported in the following Visual Studio products Description

Develop cloud services by using the most recent version of Visual Studio.

Visual Studio 2012

You can install this release of the Azure SDK, which includes the Azure Tools, either in the same instance of Visual Studio 2012 as the previous release of the SDK or in another instance. If you install these releases of the SDK side by side, you can still open projects that were created with the previous release, but all new projects will be created with the current release.

For more information, see How To: Upgrade Projects to the Current Version of the Azure Tools

Create and consume a distributed caching service that's hosted by a role or that runs as a separate role in a cloud service.

  • Visual Studio 2010 with Service Pack 1 (SP1)

  • Visual Studio 2012

  • Visual Web Developer 2010 with SP1

  • Visual Studio Express 2012 for Web

By using role-based caching, you can set up general-purpose data caches, in addition to the output caches and session state caches on a per-role basis in Azure cloud services.

For more information, see How to: Use an Azure In-Role Cache in Azure Cloud Service.

Explore workflow in worker roles by using service bus tasks and queues in Server Explorer. Also, create worker roles that use service bus queues.

  • Visual Studio 2010 with SP1

  • Visual Studio 2012

  • Visual Web Developer 2010 with SP1

  • Visual Studio Express 2012 for Web

A service bus provides an efficient message queue system for worker roles in Azure.

For more information, see Service Bus.

Explore virtual machines and service bus queues. Also, start a remote desktop (RDP) session directly from a virtual machine or a cloud service in the Server Explorer window of Visual Studio.

  • Visual Studio 2010 SP1

  • Visual Studio 2012

In Server Explorer, you can monitor the status of virtual machines and log into them. For more information about how to manage virtual machines, see Accessing Azure Virtual Machines from Server Explorer.

Use the lightweight database, SQL Server Express LocalDB, during the development process.

  • Visual Studio 2012

  • Visual Studio Express 2012 for Web

SQL Server Express LocalDB is a lightweight database that’s for developers and that requires no administration or management of instances of SQL Server. Visual Studio 2012 installs LocalDB on the local machine by default.

The storage emulator can now be initialized and backed by LocalDB. You can use LocalDB when you run and debug your application locally.

For more information, see How to: Upgrade to SQL Server Express LocalDB and SQL Server 2012 Express LocalDB.

Use ASP.NET MVC4 web roles in your cloud services.

  • Visual Studio 2010 with SP1

  • Visual Studio 2012

  • Visual Web Developer 2010 with SP1

  • Visual Studio Express 2012 for Web

You can create ASP.NET MVC4 roles from a template. Also, if you already have an MVC4 project, you can add Azure publishing support to it.

For more information, see What's New in ASP.NET MVC 4.

Set up your cloud services to automatically deploy when you make code changes.

  • Visual Studio 2010 with SP1

  • Visual Studio 2012

  • Visual Web Developer 2010 with SP1

  • Visual Studio Express 2012 for Web

You can add Azure projects to Team Foundation Service, which is a cloud-based version-control system that’s based on Visual Studio Team Foundation Server. You can manage source code, work items, projects, builds, and publication to Azure without any servers on your premises.

For more information, see Continuous Delivery for Cloud Applications in Azure.

Deploy cloud services more quickly.

  • Visual Studio 2010 with SP1

  • Visual Studio 2012

  • Visual Web Developer 2010 with SP1

  • Visual Studio Express 2012 for Web

Several improvements make deploying Azure applications faster. You can deploy only those components that have changed since the last deployment. If you aren't concerned about keeping an application available at all times, you can update all instances simultaneously instead of incrementally.

You can test and run cloud services locally by using Internet Information Services (IIS) Express.

  • Visual Studio 2010 with SP1

  • Visual Studio 2012

  • Visual Web Developer 2010 with SP1

  • Visual Studio Express 2012 for Web

When you debugging an application locally, you can run IIS Express in the compute emulator, as a lightweight alternative to installing a server to run IIS. In this release, you still need elevated permissions to run cloud services in the Azure emulator.

For more information, see IIS Express Overview.

Use the User Datagram Protocol (UDP) in your cloud services.

  • Visual Studio 2010 with SP1

  • Visual Studio 2012

  • Visual Web Developer 2010 with SP1

  • Visual Studio Express 2012 for Web

Azure supports UDP in the Endpoints tab of the role designer.

Add files and folders to your roles.

  • Visual Studio 2010 with SP1

  • Visual Studio 2012

  • Visual Web Developer 2010 with SP1

  • Visual Studio Express 2012 for Web

You can add content to your roles by creating a folder or adding files to your role projects in Solution Explorer. When you publish, your files are deployed to Azure and are available to the cloud service that’s running.

Create storage connection strings for Diagnostics and Caching more easily.

  • Visual Studio 2010 with SP1

  • Visual Studio 2012

  • Visual Web Developer 2010 with SP1

  • Visual Studio Express 2012 for Web

When you use the Publish Wizard to publish to Azure, you can automatically update your configuration files with the connection information for your storage account. If you’ve already added a connection string, it isn’t replaced.Because the tools change the active .cscfg file before publishing your cloud service to Azure, you have explicit visibility and control over the values. For more information, see Publish Azure Application Wizard.

The following table describes features that were added to the tools and SDK version 1.6, which was released in November 2011.

 

Feature Supported in the following Visual Studio products Description

Publish Azure Application Wizard

  • Visual Studio 2010

  • Visual Web Developer 2010

This wizard simplifies downloads of settings and certificates, permits the use of multiple subscriptions with a set of credentials, and lets you save settings to profiles. For more information, see Publish Azure Application Wizard.

Command-Line Build for Azure

Not Applicable

You can follow this procedure to build and package applications for Azure. For more information, see Command-Line Build for Azure.

With the release of the latest tools and SDK version 1.5 (September 2011), the feature described in the following table has been added.

 

Feature Supported in the following Visual Studio products Description

Publish an Existing Web Application to Azure

  • Visual Studio 2010

  • Visual Web Developer 2010

If you want to deploy your existing Web application to Azure, you can now publish to Azure directly from your Web project. For more information about this feature, see How to: Migrate and Publish a Web Application to an Azure Cloud Service from Visual Studio.

noteNote
When you use this feature, you might see the following error in the Error List window: The specified path, file name, or both are too long. This error occurs because the length of the fully qualified Azure project name is too long. To reduce the length of the fully qualified project name, you might have to move your solution to a different directory that has a shorter path.

CautionCaution
Breaking Change: The Azure project file (.ccproj) has a different structure for version 1.5 (September 2011) Release of the Azure Tools from previous versions. When you open a solution that contains an Azure project, any existing .ccproj files are changed to this new structure. This upgraded .ccproj file is incompatible with previous versions of the Azure Tools.

With the release of the latest tools and SDK version 1.4 (August 2011), the features described in the following table have been added.

 

Feature Supported in the following Visual Studio products Description

Multiple Service Configurations

  • Visual Studio 2010

  • Visual Web Developer 2010

If you want to run your Azure application locally to debug it and you also want to publish your application to Azure, this typically requires different values for the settings for your roles. For example, you might want to run four instances of a role in Azure, but just one instance when you debug in your local environment. You can now have multiple service configurations in your Azure project that enable you to define these different values. You can then select which one you want to use. For more information about this feature, see Configuring an Azure Project.

Profiling an Azure application when it runs in Azure

  • Visual Studio 2010 Ultimate or Visual Studio 2010 Premium

You can now profile your Azure application when it runs in Azure to determine any performance issues. When you publish your Azure application from Visual Studio, you can choose to profile the application and select the profiling settings that you require. A profiling session is started for each instance of a role. For more information about this feature, see Testing the Performance of a Cloud Service.

Package validation

  • Visual Studio 2010

  • Visual Web Developer 2010

When you create a package or publish your Azure application, warnings or errors now occur to enable you to fix issues that would prevent the application from being deployed or published. By receiving a warning or error at the packaging stage, you can save time by fixing these issues before you deploy your Azure application. You do not have to wait for the deployment to complete and then have the deployment fail. For more information about how to treat warnings as errors or fix any warnings that occur when you create a package, see Troubleshooting Package Validation Warnings and Errors.

MVC 3 web role support

  • Visual Studio 2010

  • Visual Web Developer 2010

You can now add an MVC 3 web role to your solution when you create an Azure project. You can select which type of MVC 3 project you want to create. In addition, this web role automatically adds the necessary assemblies as references to the project and makes sure that they are deployed as part of the service package when you publish this application. For more information about MVC 3, see MVC 3.

CautionCaution
Breaking Change: When you build your Azure application the folder named csx is no longer created by the Version 1.4 (August 2011) release. The files in this folder enabled you to use csrun to run your application using the Azure compute emulator. If you used the contents of this folder with Team Build to run your application locally and test the application before you deployed, you must now set the PackageForComputeEmulator property to true in your build template.

ImportantImportant
With the release of the 1.4.1 Refresh of Azure SDK and Azure Tools Version 1.4 (March 2011), Web Deploy was enabled for the Azure Visual Studio tools. When you are developing and testing an Azure application, you can use Web Deploy to publish changes incrementally for your web roles. Web Deploy is not for use in a production environment. For more information about how to use Web Deploy, see Enable Web Deploy When You Publish Your Application.

 

Feature Supported in the following Visual Studio products Description

Remote Desktop

Visual Studio 2010

Visual Web Developer 2010

With the Remote Desktop support in the tools, you can easily set up and configure the remote desktop connections for your Roles. For more information about remote desktop support, see Using Remote Desktop with Azure Roles.

Virtual Network

Visual Studio 2010

Visual Web Developer 2010

With the Azure Tools for Visual Studio, you can enable Azure Connect for your roles. Azure Connect allows you to set up IP connection between roles run in Azure and local computers. See Using Azure Connect to Create Virtual Networks for more information.

Virtual Machine (VM) Role

Visual Studio 2010

Visual Web Developer 2010

With the Azure Tools for Visual Studio, you can add a VM role to your Azure project, select the VHD for your VM role, configure and deploy the VM role as simple as other role types.

ImportantImportant
VM Roles may not have support enabled by default. For more information about the release status of VM Role, refer to the Azure website. Depending on the release status and your participation in the latest VM role program, you may or may not have access to the VM role functionality.

IIS Support

Visual Studio 2010

Visual Web Developer 2010

Full IIS is supported for building and deploying web roles, both in the development environment and in Azure. See Developing a Web Application for more information.

See Also

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