There has been a fundamental shift to device and services experiences altering how the industry approaches software development. Consumers, customers, and employees now demand a new breed of applications. They demand applications that provide the best experience across multiple screens and devices, always-connected services for data they need, security, and continuous evolution.
Visual Studio 2013 builds on the advances delivered in Visual Studio 2012 and subsequent Visual Studio Updates to provide the solution needed for development teams to embrace this transformation and to develop and deliver new modern applications that leverage the next wave in Windows platform innovation (Windows 8.1), while supporting devices and services across all Microsoft platforms.
Below are just some of the highlights in this release, including: innovative features for greater developer productivity, support for Windows 8.1 app development, web development advances, debugging and optimization improvements for native and managed code, and expanded ALM capabilities.
Innovative Features for Greater Developer Productivity
Visual Studio 2013 includes many user interface improvements based on customer feedback and Microsoft’s core design principle of keeping the focus on the content to deliver an improved user experience. You may notice the more than 400 modified icons with greater differentiation and increased use of color, a redesigned Start page, and other subtle design changes throughout Visual Studio.
Visual Studio 2013 includes a number of improvements to help you be more productive and stay focused when coding. Some features first appeared as experiments in the Visual Studio Power Tools extension before being refined and incorporated into Visual Studio. Productivity features such as automatic bracket completion, the ability to move code lines or blocks using keyboard shortcuts, and in-line navigation are now built-in. In addition, Visual Studio 2013 includes a new Team Explorer with an enhanced Home page that provides easier navigation to team collaboration features, including the ability to undock Pending Changes and Builds into a separate window.
Support for Windows 8.1 App Development
Visual Studio 2013 provides the ideal toolset for building modern applications that leverage the next wave in Windows platform innovation (Windows 8.1), while supporting devices and services across all Microsoft platforms. Support for Windows Store app development in Windows 8.1 includes many updates to the tools, controls and templates, new Coded UI test support for XAML apps, UI Responsiveness Analyzer and Energy Consumption profiler for XAML & HTML apps, enhanced memory profiling tools for HTML apps, and improved integration with the Windows Store.
Blend for XAML has been enhanced with significant new capabilities for Windows Store app design, such as the addition of rulers and custom guides for more precise content layout as well as improved styling capabilities. Blend for HTML also inherits these enhancements and adds specific new capabilities for building Windows Store apps with HTML, such as the new timeline for animating changes in CSS.
The coding experience for Windows Store apps has been enhanced in Visual Studio 2013. The XAML editor now provides advances in IntelliSense, which is now also available for data binding, template binding, and resources. It also enables a more productive transition between design markup and code behind; including support for finding references, going to definition, and switching to the view model. These, along with other improvements will help cut down the work when creating Windows Store apps.
Web Development Advancements
Creating websites or services on the Microsoft platform provides you with many options, including ASP.NET WebForms, ASP.NET MVC, WCF or Web API services, etc. In the past, working with each of these approaches in Visual Studio meant working with separate project types and tooling isolated to that specific project’s capabilities. The One ASP.NET vision unifies your web project experience in Visual Studio 2013 so that you can create ASP.NET web applications using your preference of ASP.NET component frameworks in a single project. This new unified experience includes the ability to easily create hybrid applications that include improved versions of ASP.NET WebForms, MVC or Web API, all in a single project. Now you can mix and match the right tools for the job within your web projects, giving you increased flexibility and productivity when developing for the web.
If you design web pages, or implement the designs of others, you probably spend a significant portion of your time tweaking HTML and CSS while refreshing browser windows again and again to achieve the exact experience you want to create. This is further complicated by the diversity of available web browsers your visitors might be using to view your site. Visual Studio 2013 eliminates this back and forth using Browser Link, which connects Visual Studio to one or more open modern browsers in an interactive development experience to keep them in synch with your markup changes without needing manual browser refreshes to see the changes you’re making.
Create Modern Business Apps for Office 365
With Visual Studio 2013, you can create and manage modern business applications that extend the Office 365 experience to help people interact with business processes, artifacts, and other systems. Office 365 Cloud Business Apps run in the cloud, taking advantage of the rich platform capabilities exposed by Windows Azure and Office 365. As cloud-based apps, they are available to a myriad of devices to aggregate data and services from in and out of an enterprise, and integrate user identities and social graphs. These applications integrate with the application lifecycle management capabilities of Visual Studio, bridging the worlds of the business app developer with IT operations.
Debugging and optimization Improvements
The new Performance and Diagnostics hub in Visual Studio 2013 provides a unified experience for various tools available in Visual Studio. The hub also makes it easy to identify the performance and diagnostic tools that work with your project and enables you to quickly start using them to improve your application.
Memory Dump Analyzer in Visual Studio 2013 makes it easier for you to diagnose memory problems in production environments by analyzing .NET memory heap dumps right from Visual Studio. Using the new memory analysis capability, you can solve memory leaks and inefficient memory usage by seeing size and counts, the largest instances of objects, and what is holding them alive in memory. You can also compare two memory dumps to gain insight into how memory usage is changing over time.
Expanded ALM Capabilities
Visual Studio 2013 incorporates a wave of new Application Lifecycle Management (ALM) features that will help your teams be more productive and collaborate with improved support for agile development practices that you can adopt incrementally to suit the needs of your organization. Features such as agile portfolio management, team rooms, web-based code comments on changesets/commits, and web-based test case management improvements are part of an integrated solution to help your team collaborate better and increase productivity.
Pricing and Licensing
In addition to all of the new and exciting capabilities detailed above, we are pleased to offer Visual Studio 2013 at Visual Studio 2012 pricing. Also, MSDN subscribers gained new benefits at no additional cost since the release of Visual Studio 2012, including dev and test use rights for Microsoft’s latest releases such as Windows 8.1 and Windows Server 2012 R2, monetary credits to spend on Windows Azure services, discounted rates for Windows Azure Dev/Test scenarios and developer accounts for the Windows Store, Windows Phone Store, and an Office 365 Developer subscription.