SBP Blog

What's new in Visual Studio 2013

Feb 10, 2014 by Adrian

Visual Studio 2013Microsoft seems to be following a new trend of shorter time frames between its product releases, so only 1 year after the release of Visual Studio 2012, we now have the next version of this popular Integrated Development Environment (IDE).

So what's new in Visual Studio 2013? you may ask, well, keep on reading, as we're going to tell you all :)

Improvements and features

As expected, Visual Studio 2013 includes various improvements over the previous versions, but it also includes new features. Overall, it's legitimate to admit that Visual Studio 2013 further refines the programming experience.

The list of improvements and features is definitely not short, so here are just a few of them:

  • Different levels for backlogs, which offer different levels of granularity
  • Support for Git in addition to Team Foundation Server's native version control
  • Improvements in the version control solution
  • New "lightweight code commenting" feature allows the creation of inline comments
  • Over 400 modified icons, which resemble the Windows 8 color theme
  • Improvements in the process of writing Windows Store apps, such as: support for developing Windows 8.1 apps, creating a hub-style app, generating app bundles etc.

Programming in Visual Studio 2013

Writing code has always been smooth in Visual Studio IDE, and now it's getting even better:

"Heads up display" is a new feature that shows a balloon with key information about your code, while you are working - cool, right? Also, various indicators provide information in different situations, such as: recent changes to a method or places that reference that method.

The Peek Definition feature displays a pop-up window that shows the definition of a class or method that a developer requested without disturbing his current work.

JavaScript developers will sure welcome the support for TypeScript, as it makes working with JavaScript more manageable. Still, JavaScript editing lacks the Peak Definition action, which could have been a good feature for JavaScript programmers.

Although Visual Studio 2013 provides a better experience than its predecessors, writing apps can still be a clumsy work - what I mean is that the new version of Visual Studio lacks a unified process for creating a Windows Store account and authorizing an app, not to mention that certificates are valid for 1 month only.

Testing in Visual Studio 2013

In the past, in order to properly manage test cases, the developer had to switch to the Test Professional Client, but now this can be done without the need to switch. New parameters were added for test cases, such as: step attachments, parametrize step data and shared steps. Also, the addition of a hosted Team Foundation Service allows the developer to build, test and deploy, without configuring his own infrastructure (which is not a very easy thing to do).

The downside is that due to the sheer size of features and training materials, Visual Studio 2013 presents a huge learning curve, and new users have to research thoroughly in order to be familiar with it. Also, talking about familiarity, some users complain that the color scheme is...well, not the best, although I doubt many developers care about the looks, as long as it works. What do you say about this?

Overall, Visual Studio 2013 is a lot to handle for a new developer, who might be overwhelmed by the sheer number of documents, samples, videos and actions; but this product is clearly an improvement over the last versions, and the latest from Microsoft will further enhance the development process.


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