In September 2012, Microsoft launched Visual Studio 2012 and in November 2012 their first Visual Studio 2012 Update 1 (VS2012.1), which contained not only bug fixes and performance improvements, but also new functionality spanning four primary areas of investment: Windows development, SharePoint development, agile teams, and continuous quality.Today they shipped Visual Studio 2012 Update 2 (VS2012.2) which is now available for download. This release contains important fixes as well as a wealth of new functionality which primarily spans (though is not limited to) five areas of investment: agile planning, quality enablement, Windows Store development, line-of-business development, and the general developer experience.
Agile planning. Visual Studio 2012 introduced a wide range of capabilities focused on enabling agile teams, not only for development but also for planning. With VS2012.2, Team Foundation Server (TFS) has been augmented with an additional variety of features to help make it even easier for agile teams to do their planning, in particular around adapting to a team’s preferences and work styles. For example, VS2012.1 introduced new project tracking options, including a Kanban board and a cumulative flow diagram; VS2012.2 augments those experiences with the ability to customize the Kanban board to adapt it for an organization’s needs. Other features include work item tagging that provides a simple and flexible way to add metadata to work items in support of better organization and reporting, support for emailing work items via the TFS Web Access portal, and more.
Quality Enablement. A key focus area for Visual Studio 2012 is in enabling quality to be maintained and improved throughout development cycles. This focus can be seen not only in the RTM release, but also in VS2012.1, with the added support for code coverage with manual ASP.NET testing, with support in Test Explorer for custom “traits”, with support for cross-browser testing, and with improvements to Microsoft Test Manager. Now with VS2012.2, support for quality enablement is taken even further. This update introduces web-based access to the Test Case Management tools in TFS such that users can now author, edit, and execute test cases through the web portal. It also includes the ability to profile unit tests (with results across both the unit tests and the code under test surfaced through a single report), improved unit testing support for both asynchronous code and for interactions with the UI, unit testing support for Windows Phone 8 apps, unit test playlists that enable a subset of tests to be managed together, significant improvements around testing for SharePoint 2013 (web and load testing, unit testing with emulators, coded UI support, and IntelliTrace support), and more.
Development experience. As developers spend so much of their time using the IDE, it’s important that Visual Studio provide as streamlined an experience as possible. Code map has been updated with improved responsiveness as well as with debugger integration, providing a visual perspective on the relationships and dependencies in code being debugged. Symbol loading has been improved across both the profiling and IntelliTrace experiences. The Workflow designer now has an improved debugging experience. The XAML design surface in both Blend and the Visual Studio editor includes multiple performance and reliability improvements, in particular when loading large projects and when using third-party controls. The IDE’s light and dark themes are now joined by a third, blue theme. And more, such as including all of the improvements made available through ASP.NET and Web Tools 2012.2.
A more expansive list of what’s new in VS2012.2, including new features and bug fixes, is also available.