Software Development

Visual Studio 2013

I only just got around to installing Visual Studio 2012 last month and now at Tech Ed this week Microsoft has gone ahead and announced that there will be new releases of Visual Studio and Team Foundation Server for 2013.

Some of the new features that Microsoft has highlighted are:

  • Agile Portfolio Management – To better manage your backlog of work items
  • Team Explorer and Version Control enhancements – To improve on some of the changes made in this area in VS2012
  • Lightweight code commenting – Which is basically the ability to perform code reviews by attaching comments to lines of code
  • Code indicators – To provide additional information about the method you are working on and how it is used
  • Test management enhancements – Including cloud based load testing
  • Release Management – As part of a recent acquisition of InCycle Software and their InRelease product
  • Team Rooms – To keep a record of everything happening within your project and team. This also includes chat functionality.

You can read about this in more detail on Brian Harry’s Blog where he goes into more detail on the announcement he made at Tech Ed.

As you may have noticed, these features are more heavily focused on the TFS side of things, with few features identified for Visual Studio. As Brian is the Product Unit Manager for Team Foundation Server at Microsoft he is more excited about promoting the features of TFS, so we’ll have to wait to hear more about VS2013.

I’m a little unsure about adding the ability to chat in the Team Rooms. In a co-located Agile team your face-to-face communication should be high and so a feature like this is unnecessary. I guess it could be helpful for a distributed team, but there are already other tools for that.

Microsoft appears to be shortening their release cycle these days. It’s an Agile practice to release early and often, which they appear to be following to help keep their software relevant and more responsive to their users needs. However I’m not sure their users can keep up with them if they start releasing Visual Studio every year. I have done work for clients who are still working in VS2005 and VS2008, with no plans to upgrade for a while yet. Many people could end up skipping two or more releases of Visual Studio, just because their company or software can’t keep up. Thankfully this problem will become a little easier to manage from VS2010 onward, as both VS2012 and VS2013 can load and save VS2010 compatible solutions and projects.

Microsoft will be providing more information about these upcoming releases at their Build conference later this month, so we should hear about more new features in Visual Studio 2013 soon. What are you looking forward to in Visual Studio 2013 and/or TFS 2013? Or do you see little reason to upgrade? Let me know what you think.

About Chris Watson

Chris Watson is a software developer at Protegra with over 13 years of experience in the field. He was born and raised in New Zealand, where he started his career in IT before moving to Winnipeg, Canada. Most of his work at Protegra has involved the use of TDD and a variety of open source tools. This work has re-ignited his passion for programming and has seen him share his knowledge throughout Protegra and to the wider community.

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