Microsoft’s premium development suite is about to get another update and as the release candidate is now out it’s possible to take a look at what we can expect. Having tried it out while doing some developing it has a sleek new look and also helps you write code even faster than before.
One of the more pleasing parts of Visual Studio has always been Intellisense, it helps you remember all those function names and declarations even speeding up the process of writing out your code, this is not unique to Visual Studio of course but in 2012 it feels even more reliable. With the expected updates in functionality and new ability to write Metro style applications Visual Studio is pushing the developers into writing applications for windows 8, so is definitely a big step into the future.
The User Interface
As mentioned the user interface now feels slicker and faster than Visual Studio 2010 which at times can feel quite bloated with constant use. Writing code is not a chore are with use of Intellisense you’ll be writing the code faster and have help formatting the code so it looks the best it can.
Of course some developers don’t feel the requirement for all this help so they can just ignore these features, but it’s still nice to have and actually saves you from making errors while typing. When you get used to using the main interface you’ll be writing your code faster than ever.
Debugging Your Code
One of the most important things about writing code is the ability to debug, tracking down those errors that are causing you problem. Microsoft have added optimisations here to improve the debugging, and this includes new debugging tools for Metro which of course will be useful when learning the new rules of what is a new user interface. One nice debug feature to note is the new ability to select the browser to debug in for Web applications (through the actual IDE not through menu options), this is a nice touch.
Microsoft has also upgraded the ability to test the performance of the code. You’ll be able to find the bottlenecks and where your application is slowing down the most. This will be important if you want it to run at its full potential. Application profiling will give the statistics and guides you will need to help speed up the code. This of course includes new tools for Metro too.
Upgrades to Programming Languages
Microsoft have upgraded all of their programming languages in Visual Studio 2012 with an eye to make writing Metro style apps easy, and of course efficient. The main aim seems to be to create an easy of use and through updates to the User Interface and the languages themselves they do seem to have managed this. There is a feel though that if all these changes are to push people to adopt Metro that other areas could feel ignored. I didn’t find this the case though I was building web page apps with no problem at all. Of course with this being a Release Candidate of course these apps could not use the full potential available.
There are a lot of changes coming in Visual Studio 2012 and if the Release Candidate is anything to go by these will be very useful. If Microsoft keep to their same model as they have before Express versions of the language editors which will be free. It will definitely be interesting when Windows 8 is released and developers start to write code for Metro, Visual Studio 2012 may become an essential tool. For this though we will have to wait and see.