Monthly Archives: March 2012

First Look at Screenshots and What’s New in Visual Studio 11

Another release of Visual Studio is round the corner. Visual Studio 11 Beta is available for downloading and testing. I have downloaded a copy of Visual Studio 11 Beta and have installed on Windows 8 Consumer preview.

Microsoft Visual Studio is an integrated development environment (IDE) from Microsoft. It is used to develop console and graphical user interface applications along with Windows Forms applications, web sites, web applications, and web services in both native code together with managed code for all platforms supported by Microsoft Windows, Windows Mobile, Windows CE, .NET Framework, .NET Compact Framework and Microsoft Silverlight. Visual Studio includes a code editor supporting IntelliSense as well as code refactoring.

The current version of Visual Studio is 2010 and soon Visual Studio 11 will be released. If released this year, hopefully, then the new name would be Visual Studio 2012.

I will step through the high level overview of this upcoming new version:

1) Develop Metro style Apps

Microsoft Visual Studio 11 Beta is a collection of tools that you can use to create, code, debug, localize, package, and deploy a Windows Metro style app. In short, Visual Studio can help you do just about anything you need to do to develop a Metro style app. Metro style apps will be part of Windows 8 and Windows 8 Server. Windows 8 has a bold new style that’s sleek and modern, and it’s been beautifully designed. Metro apps created in Visual Studio 11 Beta will have nice looking screens which are based on fluid design. Your imagination is the limit!

For more information on Windows 8 and Metro style (tiled) interface please read my blog:

You must use a developer license to develop and test Metro style apps before the Windows Store can certify them.

Below is the Visual Studio 11 Beta tile on my Windows 8 VPC after I had installed it. It is so easy to launch applications in Metro Interface. I love it!

Visual Studio 11 Beta Tile in Windows 8 Metro Style

Visual Studio 11 Beta Tile in Windows 8 Metro Interface

The look and feel has changed a little. It looks cleaner and simpler to me.

Visual Studio 11 Ultimate Beta

Visual Studio 11 Ultimate Beta

Windows 8 provides many new opportunities for developers. Developers who are familiar with the Visual C# or Visual Basic languages can use their skills to develop the new style of tailored applications for Windows 8. Web developers can employ JavaScript, and the JavaScript libraries in Windows 8 enable web developers to leverage the full power of the new Windows Runtime available in Windows 8.

2) Visual Studio 11 Beta Product Family

Creating software involves many other team members besides developers. Agile methodologies enable stakeholders such as architects, product managers, designers, program managers, testers, operations personnel, and end users to have much greater input into the application development process.

  • Visual Studio Team Foundation Server 11 Beta enables all stakeholders to participate as equal members of the development team throughout the application life cycle. New connectors and integration points enable operations staff and project managers to work more closely with the development team to realize faster delivery cycles and to add real business value. Visual Studio Team Foundation Server 11 Beta, in common with previous versions of Visual Studio Team Foundation Server, is available for installation on a local server. However, there is now another option. Team Foundation Service is available as an online software-as-a-service (SaaS) version of Team Foundation Server.
Visual Studio Team Foundation Server 11 Beta

Visual Studio Team Foundation Server 11 Beta

  • Blend for Visual Studio Beta enables designers to create visually stunning applications. Applications tailored to Windows 8 can use XAML to define the user interface, ensuring that designers can continue to use their existing design skills. Portability between Visual Studio 11 Beta and Blend for Visual Studio Beta has been improved, and the design surface in Visual Studio has been upgraded to more closely match the experience in Blend for Visual Studio Beta. These improvements make it easier for designers and developers to work together to make visually stunning, highly functional applications.
Blend for Visual Studio Beta

Blend for Visual Studio 11 Beta

  • Visual Studio Test Professional helps to ensure that the testing process is fully integrated into the software development lifecycle. With Test Professional, high-quality software testing is now a preeminent part of the development process. Test plans and testing can be performed more quickly by using the same tools as developers.

3) HTML5 Full Support

Developers can use HTML5, CSS3, and JavaScript to create modern web applications that render perfectly on many devices and platforms. Visual Studio 11 Beta includes full support for all of these languages, supporting script loaders for JavaScript and enabling the CSS workarounds used to support older browsers. In addition, ASP.NET web forms now provide client-side validation and object binding to make development faster and the user experience better.

4) Ease of Development

For developing and debugging web applications, developers can take advantage of Internet Information Server (IIS) Express. This is a lightweight version of IIS, configured in Visual Studio 11 Beta that is suitable for testing your applications.

Web applications that store data can use the new LocalDB, a lightweight version of SQL Server, with full fidelity to both SQL Server and SQL Azure, ensuring that you do not need to change any code when you deploy your application.

As platforms have evolved, software developers have faced many challenges to ensuring that their applications are portable. Developing to industry standards helps to ensure that applications work. Visual Studio 11 Beta provides first-class support for many development language standards.

5) Visual Studio IDE Store Menu

  • Store menu: You can use the new Store menu to create a developer account at the Windows Store and reserve a name for an app.
  • Package and upload an app: You can create an app manifest and package all the required files together so that you can upload them to the Windows Store.

6) Announcing LightSwitch in Visual Studio 11 Beta!

LightSwitch in VS11 has embraced OData. OData is an open-standards data protocol for querying and updating data built on Web technologies such as HTTP, Atom Publishing Protocol, and JSON to provide access to data from a variety of applications, services, and stores.

In July 2011 Microsoft released version 1.0 of Visual Studio LightSwitch 2011, a development environment for creating rich applications and let users interact with data.

Announcing LightSwitch in Visual Studio 11 Beta

Announcing LightSwitch in Visual Studio 11 Beta

7) JavaScript as a first-class language

JavaScript is a first-class language in Visual Studio 11 Beta. You can use most or all of the standard editing aids (code snippets, IntelliSense, etc.) when writing JavaScript code in the Visual Studio IDE.

So now along with the default languages of C#, F#, Visual Basic and C++, there is JavaScript.

New features for JavaScript in Visual Studio 11 Beta include the following:

  • Strict Mode (JavaScript): Strict mode is a way to introduce additional run-time constraints and error-checking into your code.
  • Typed Arrays (JavaScript): You can use typed arrays to handle binary data from sources such as network protocols, binary file formats, and raw graphics buffers.
  • WebWorkers: The Internet Explorer Web Workers API provides a way to add background workers that run in parallel with the main page. For more information.
  • The async attribute of the script element. When this attribute is set to true, the script will be executed while the page is being parsed.

8) Metro style simulator Debugging

You can use the Metro style simulator to run Metro style apps and to simulate common touch and rotate events on the same machine.

9) New in MSBuild 4.5

  • Out-of-process tasks. The build process can specify that a task has to run out-of-process. For example, a task may have to run with a different bit-ness or CLR version than the msbuild.exe process.
  • ARM processor builds are now supported.

10) New for SharePoint Development in Visual Studio 11 Beta

The SharePoint developer tools in Visual Studio 11 Developer Preview contain new designers and templates to facilitate SharePoint development, as well as new options for deploying and testing SharePoint sites.

SharePoint Project Templates in Visual Studio 11 Beta

SharePoint Project Templates in Visual Studio 11 Beta

11) New Table Designer feature for Data Application Development in Visual Studio 11 Beta

In the new Table Designer, you can define a table graphically and understand its related objects at a glance. As you change the table definition through a graphical interface, the Script pane updates the table’s script definition. As an alternative, you can modify the script directly in the Script pane. You can define the table via the graphical designer, the script, or a combination of the two. To apply the SQL in the Script pane, you click the new Update button.

The new Table Designer appears for a database that’s in the SQL Server 2012 Release Candidate.

12) Async Feature

Visual Basic and C# introduce the Async feature, which makes asynchronous programming almost as straightforward as synchronous programming. Asynchronous code traditionally has required you to define continuations to capture what happens after a called asynchronous operation finishes. This requirement complicates your code and makes routine tasks such as exception handling more awkward and difficult.

By using the Async feature, you can call asynchronous methods without defining continuations or splitting your code across multiple methods or lambda expressions.

13) IIS Express

In Visual Studio 11 Beta, IIS Express replaces the ASP.NET Development Server as the default server for web development.

14) Parallel Computing

  • C++ Accelerated Massive Parallelism: C++ Accelerated Massive Parallelism (C++ AMP) accelerates the execution of your C++ code by taking advantage of the data parallel hardware that’s often present as a GPU on a discrete graphics card. This programming model includes multidimensional arrays, indexing, memory transfer, tiling, and a mathematical function library. By using C++ AMP language extensions and compiler restrictions, you can control how data moves from the CPU to the GPU and back.
  • Parallel Debugging: You can use the GPU Threads and Parallel Watch windows to debug parallel applications.
  • TPL Dataflow: Task Parallel Library (TPL) Dataflow supports parallel dataflow-based programming by building on features that were introduced in the .NET Framework 4.

15) New Ribbon control in Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF)

You can implement a ribbon user interface by using the new Ribbon control (.NET Framework 4.5)

This release of Visual Studio 11 suite of products should take development a level up and will make development much more exciting.

My above blog is based on Microsoft’s MSDN resource on Visual Studio 11 Beta.

I hope this blog about ‘First Look at Screenshots and What’s New in Visual Studio 11’ was informative. Please feel free to leave your comments.