Introducing Visual Studio 2013



Microsoft is moving fast these days. It only seems like a couple of months ago that I reluctantly started using Visual Studio 2012 ("a couple of months ago" being almost a year ago now..), and now we already have Visual Studio 2013.
Just like I wasn't really eager to switch from Visual Studio 2010 to Visual Studio 2012, I didn't really want to immediately switch to VS 2013 either. However, I decided to give it a try, and I must say that the VS team implemented some nice changes, and overall this feels like a bigger step functionality-wise than the changes between VS 2010 and VS 2012 (which were mostly visual/esthetic). I'll go into the parts I like best later on in this blogpost, but for now here's a general list of changes:


XAML design tools

  •     Rulers and guides. Drag visual guides from rulers to more precisely place elements and create custom layouts.
  •     Better style editing support. In-place style and template editing supports the creation and modification of templates directly in the context of the app display.
  •     Sample data support. Bind to sample data, including sample data in JSON format.
  •     View-state authoring. Modify view-state properties such as Edge and minimum widths for edge-aligned views directly in the Device panel.
  •     Behaviors. Add behaviors to your markup interactively by dropping them onto any element. Choose from a list of built-in behaviors or create custom behaviors.

SharePoint and Office

  •     MVC support. You can use the new MVC (model-view-controller) pattern in Office and SharePoint 2013 to create apps. In apps for SharePoint, you can choose the ASP.NET MVC Web Application as the web app for your project.
  •     Cloud Business App project template. Create line of business applications hosted on SharePoint for Office 365 that are based on Visual Studio LightSwitch technologies.
  •    Add search capabilities to your apps for SharePoint. You can deploy custom search configurations to a search-enabled site. See How to: Deploy custom search configurations by using Visual Studio.
  •     Debug remote event receivers and remote workflows. Remote event receivers and workflows contained in apps for SharePoint now support full debugging. See Developing apps for SharePoint on a remote system.


  •     Just My Code for C++ and JavaScript.
  •     Asynchronous call stacks are extended to show you the method chain that called the async code.
  •     64 bit Edit and Continue for .NET Framework code.
  •     You can now examine the return values of nested method calls.
  •     For more information, see What’s New for the Debugger in Visual Studio 2013.

(The full list can be seen here on MSDN.)


The 2 things that I like best however, are the following changes:


Visual studio "in the cloud"

I have been working with VS for almost 6 years now. I started with VS 2008, and gradually moved up to VS 2013 now. Over the last 6 years, I've worked on lots of different computers/laptops. A big hassle everytime I got a new/other development-machine, was that I needed to install/configure VS to my liking everytime again. One of the new features in VS 2013, is that you can "sign in" to VS, on any instance anywhere, and by doing that, your custom settings will be loaded in and be applied to VS. So this pretty basically solves the need to reconfigure VS everytime you get a new machine.


Another cool (and according to many people, really needed) feature, was the ability to choose the color theme out of the box. In previous versions of VS, this was not possible, and you needed to download a custom extension from the VS gallery (this was the case up until SP 2, after that it was integrated in VS aswell).


Although I'm happy that this made it into the newest version, I am kinda wondering why they needed to change the blue for this version. If you've been using the Blue theme since VS 2010, you'll notice that the blue theme kinda changed..Maybe the 'old" blue wasn't blue enough anymore for Microsoft? .. I have no idea.


CodeLens features

CodeLens isn't just some new feature, it's basically a game-changer. It will automatically show you how many references a certain method has and how many times and by who it has been changed in the past.
It's a direct integration with TFS which is extremely useful if you're doing lots of maintenance and debugging programming (like me). Combine this with some heavy ReSharper (alt+enter) magic, and you're basically good to go.

(I'm using the Visual Blend theme from this awesome site)


While this may be useful for certain types of programming (searching for bugs,maintenance,..), if you need to develop something new from scratch, there's not really much use for CodeLens (in my humble opinion). In that case, you can just as easily switch it off aswell.



I could go on about new stuff in VS for a lot longer than this, but I propose you just check it out yourself. You can download the express version from here. Or you could just nag to your boss :)


Technology Technology

Op 12/12/2013 door Maarten

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