Microsoft & .NETWhat's New in Visual Studio 2013 RC

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Recently, I wrote about some of the great new features to expect in Visual Studio 2013 and the .NET Framework 4.5.1. This is an updated list of features that have been announced early September 2013. These features and tools are what to expect in the Visual Studio 2013 RC.

ALM Capabilities

Application Lifecycle Management ( ALM ), if you do not know yet, gives us the ability to manage product lifecycle, reduce risks, and improve efficiencies. Some of the new features in Visual Studio 2013 RC include:

Lifecycle New Features
Architecture Modelling and Design
  • Map code relationships from the code editor
  • Map call stacks whilst debugging

More information on Architecture Modeling and Design changes, have a look here.

Developer Tools
Planning and Tracking
  • The Team Explorer window will list all the solutions in your workspace, meaning that you can now easily switch between all the different solutions
  • Team rooms can be used to discuss work in progress and ask questions
  • Manage project portfolios across several teams

More information on Planning and Tracking changes, can be found here.

  • Test plan creation
  • Test case authoring
  • UI testing
  • Testing of Windows Store apps on remote devices

More information on Testing changes, can be found here.

Version Control
  • Use Git for version control
  • Web browser version control enhancements
  • Version Explorer filter

More information of Version Control changes, can be found here.

C++ 11 Changes

Here is a list of some of the great things to expect in Visual Studio 2013 RC.

Cloud Business App

Visual Studio 2013 RC includes the Cloud Business App template in the Office / Sharepoint Apps section. Although this is just one of the Cloud templates to expect in the RTM version of Visual Studio 2013, the glimpse of what is to come in modern business applications is amazing! With the Cloud Business App template you can build upon the capabilities of Windows Azure and Office 365.

The Visual Studio 2013 RC Cloud Business App can provide developer productivity through RAD experiences (the same technology that power LightSwitch) and has the flexibility to write code when you want to. These features also allow you to quickly and easily attach and consume data from multiple sources. The HTML based app UX (User experience) works great across devices and desktops.

Cloud Based Load Testing

With Cloud based load testing you do not need to worry about setting up the infrastructure required to run your tests. As you might know, normally this would be a very time consuming effort to acquire the necessary machines, configuring them and managing the test environment. Cloud based load testing is part of the Team Foundation Service. This service will take care of setting everything up, deploying your tests and most importantly, running your tests automatically.

Some of the key features of this service include:

  • Simplicity of use and getting started
  • Capacity on Demand
  • Same tests work on-premises and on the cloud

For more information on Cloud based load testing, have a look here.

CodeLens Changes

In my previous article (What to Expect in Visual Studio 2013 and .NET Framework 4.5.1) I wrote about CodeLens; here’s what to expect in Visual Studio 2013:

  • Deep Lync Integration
  • New Indicators to expose bugs Work Items and Code Reviews

For a detailed list of features and examples, have a look here.

Lightswitch Enhancements

Apart from better team support and a refined Solution Explorer experience, as present in the Preview release of Visual Studio 2013, here are some more Lightswitch features, controls and enhancements to expect in the Visual Studio 2013 RC:

New Table control A jQueryMobile table control, which is a great alternative to the native List and Tile controls.
Created By / Modified By fields on tables There are four quite self-explanatory fields that are added when you enable this feature:

  • CreatedBy
  • Created (DateTimeOffset)
  • ModifiedBy
  • Modified (DateTimeOffset)
Person semantic type Person fields basically represent a single user in the application. When you create a person field, you create a relationship to someone specific in the organization.
DateTimeOffSet /UTC date time support Support for DateTimeOffset is now included.
Runtime performance improvements for the HTML client HTML clients will run much (up to 50%) faster because of the switch to JSON-lite for communicating between HTML clients and middle-tiers.
New Project types
  • New Project Dialog – LightSwitch for creating Lightswitch HTML or Desktop apps.
  • Cloud Business App, as mentioned earlier in this article.

For more information about all the Lightswitch enhancements, have a look here.

.NET Framework Changes

  • Automatic binding redirection for assemblies.
  • Ability to collect diagnostics information.
  • Ability to compact large object heap during garbage collection.
  • ASP.NET app suspension, multi-core JIT improvements, and faster app start up.
  • Debugging enhancements.
    • Return values in the Visual Studio debugger.
    • Edit and Continue for 64-bit apps.
    • Async-aware debugging.

For a complete list of all the .NET Framework 4.5.1 changes, have a look here.

Support for Windows 8.1 App Development

As quoted from Visual Studio 2013 Highlights : “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.

“Windows Store app development requires Windows 8.1 RTM, which is available to MSDN and TechNet subscribers. Visual Studio 2013 RC does not support Windows 8.1 Preview or Windows Server 2012 R2 Preview. To develop on Windows 8.1 Preview or Windows Server 2012 R2 Preview, download Visual Studio 2013 Preview.”

TypeScript Changes

TypeScript is included in Visual Studio 2013 RC. It is simply just a quick hot fix to TypeScript 0.9.1. The following list is what is to be expected in TypeScript

  1. Improved Performance
  2. Typing with ‘typeof’
  3. Better ‘this’ handling
  4. No Implicit Any
  5. Visual Studio support for ASP.NET projects

For more details on all the changes in TypeScript, have a look here.

Work Item Charting

Work Item Charting allows us to create charts for visualizing data from work item queries. You can create these charts quite quickly and refresh them automatically. For more information on the Work Item Charting feature, have a look here.

XAML Editor

IntelliSense has been added for data binding to the XAML editor. Support for Go To Definition for Resources, Bindings and Properties have also been added. For more information on all the XAML editor changes, have a look here.


Well, that wraps it up! Now the wait begins for the Visual Studio 2013 RTM release in November – I for one, cannot wait! Until then, happy coding and cheers!

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