It has been roughly five months since Microsoft released a Developer Preview version of Visual Studio 11 along with the Developer Preview of Windows 8. Today, Microsoft has announced that they will be releasing the beta version of Visual Studio 11, as well as the .NET Framework 4.5, next week on February 29th (the same day the Windows 8 Consumer Preview – a.k.a. beta is to be released).
Some of the quick highlights include:
- TFS Express. With the release of TFS 11, there will be a new “TFS Express” SKU that will be free for 1 to 5 users. TFS Express has some limitations (e.g. no SharePoint or SQL Server Reporting Services integration) but getting the features of TFS for FREE is a huge win for small teams.
- Visual Studio Express & TFS – going along with the above announcement, the Visual Studio 11 Express SKU will be updated to include support for TFS (i.e. the Team Explorer client can be utilized from within Visual Studio 11 Express). Another huge win for small teams.
- A more “Metro-fied” Visual Studio IDE – although I am not sure Microsoft would officially call the new Visual Studio 11 IDE a “Metro” application, you can definitely see the similarities between the two. For example, the colors within the IDE (with the exception of the code/text editor) have been modified to a more monochromatic set of (light or dark) themes (the colors can still be modified based on your personal taste). The various icons have also been replaced with “glyphs” – basically “flattened” versions of icons that have a very Metro feel to them. Microsoft has also spent a lot of effort reducing less-used toolbar items as well as simplifying the lines used within the various dialogs. Overall, the new IDE looks quite a bit different and I’m not sure yet if I will like it or not. However, I am anxious to find out. Here is an example screenshot using the light theme:
- Go Live License – the beta release includes a Go Live license allowing you to use the beta tools within a production environment, if desired.
The above highlights don’t even begin to scratch the surface of what’s included in Visual Studio 11/TFS 11. Expect a lot more information regarding the beta release to become available over the coming weeks. For now, you can view the following posts for more details: