Visual Studio 2012
December 17, 2012
Visual Studio 2012 (VS 2012), the latest version of visual studio has made a revolutionary change in .NET development by making it possible to bring all separate application development styles under a single umbrella. This is a version with better polish and enhanced combination of development components. Further more VS 2012 allows .NET development to be done without the hazard of installing applications separately.
It just requires one time installation to use different types of applications. The immediate prior version of the fifth release Visual Studio is VS 2010 (2010-04-12). VS 2012 is not only for developers, but also for many other people such as product stakeholders, architects, project managers, designers and testers.
So, what are the new features? Let’s have a glance on these:
- New User Interface (UI)
VS 2012 provides a designer-oriented interface for app design that for example includes a drag-and-drop interface for assembling Controls or other UI components. Compared to the previous versions of Visual Studio, the User Interface of VS 2012 itself is not that much different from the prior ones. Though the UI is still not perfect at this stage, significant changes can be experienced, especially when it is about designing the UI Layer of applications.
Figure 1: Screenshot UI Overview
- Windows 8 Applications
VS 2012 is one of the core components of the Windows 8 platform. With no doubt, the ability to develop Windows 8 applications is one of the most vital features in VS 2012. It lets you create Windows 8 applications by using a variety of languages such as:
• Extensible Application Markup Language (XAML) with C# or Visual Basic,
To create Windows 8 applications, VS 2012 includes a set of project templates that can be retrieved from Windows Store. The Windows Store is a digital distribution platform utilized in Microsoft’s Windows 8 operating system. These templates create a number of different application types, including Blank App , Grid App, Split App, Class Library, Windows Runtime Component and Unit Test Library. You can see the new Windows 8 project types in Figure 2.
Figure 2: Windows 8 Project Templates
You will have to get a Windows 8 developer license to be able to create any application for the upcoming Windows Store. In this regard, VS 2012 can help you to get the Windows 8 developer license through Startscreen. One of the coolest features for Windows 8 development is the inclusion of the new simulator for tablet development. The tablet emulator in VS 2012 is a lot like the phone emulators that were present in earlier releases of Visual Studio. The tablet emulator lets you test your Windows 8 tablet applications without requirement of separate devices. Compared to iOS development, this is a huge advantage. You can see the tablet simulator in Figure 3.
Figure 3: Windows 8 Tablet Emulator
- Expression Blend
Expression Blend provides one of the most convincing and flawless design and development workflows in the market today. It is a powerful designing tool that lets you to design and build user interfaces by providing an accurate design surface and specific tools. It will let you visually create and edit Windows Store applications without requiring to manually code XAML. Key components of Expression Blend, including Behaviors, Visual State Manager, Transition Effects, and SketchFlow (Expression Blend 4 includes SketchFlow in Expression Studio 4 Ultimate product only), coupled with the speed and flexibility of this modern workflow challenge you to push boundaries and work beyond the limits of what you thought was possible. Expression Blend supports the WPF text engine with advanced OpenType typography and ClearType, vector-based 2D widgets, and 3D widgets with hardware acceleration via DirectX. It enables you to take full advantage of the underlying power of the platform.
- Web Development
VS 2012 offers a flexible environment for developing dynamic web applications. It provides all the basic features necessary for creating dynamic websites. Its updated user friendly tools let the professional web developer create fully functioning web applications in an easier way than ever before. VS 2012 has a number of new features that are important to web developers like:
• IIS Express,
• ASP.NET Web API,
• Page Inspector,
• Windows Azure
- Game Development Support
VS 2012 includes excellent graphics tools that help game developers to become more efficient in making unique and innovative games. This technology has expanded the game developer’s capability through game development support including first rate debugging of multithreaded XNA games and visual designers for 2D and 3D gaming.
- Semantic Code Analysis
Code analysis is one of the tools that can be used to create safer applications. Code analysis examines source code at compilation time and finds bugs before they even happen. It is one of the debugging tools which a developer should use. Code Analysis features in VS 2012 includes semantic code analysis, i.e. not just syntax but the actual logic of your code.
- HTML5/CSS3 Support