Sep 282012

Recently I began using Microsoft’s Visual Studio 2012.  My first impression hours into using it was simply asking myself why wasn’t I using this before?

Aside from the easy answer of it only being released in August I don’t have any other excuses other than not having a need to use it.  Now that I have a need to use I am glad that I am getting the opportunity to.  There are many features of VS2012 that I feel are a good reason that if you are considering upgrading you should.

One of the first things you’ll notice in VS2012 is that Microsoft went with a very Metro look and feel to the application.  Removing a lot of the hard lines and blending a lot of the elements of the UI together and removing nearly all the color from the application itself.  I have heard a lot of people complain about this, but to me it hasn’t been a distraction as I actually found that I like the bland UI more.

The first major improvement I noted in VS2012 was the enhanced integration of Team Foundation Server.  Microsoft had done a good job in VS2010 of integrating TFS into the application, but it has had a major overhaul and much deeper integration in VS2012.  TFS is the best source control program that I have used and the added project management piece makes for a powerful and flexible combo.

In VS2012 when checking source code into TFS you are prompted as part of the process to associate your changes with a work item in TFS.  While this is possible in VS2010 it does not have the same focus as it does in VS2012.  The benefits of associating changes to individual tasks, bugs or user stories should be fairly obvious.  If you ever need to reverse a change you will be able to easily find the changeset associated with the work item needing to be reversed.

An unexpected feature that I ran into when I started using VS2012 is that when you are debugging a web application that you are working on it gives you a choice as to which browser you would like to start your application in.  This was a welcome surprise because previously it would only start up in your default browser and if you wanted to run in a different browser you had to navigate there manually.  JavaScript debugging options are still only available in IE though, but other browsers like Chrome have great JavaScript tools anyway.  Having an easier time of switching between browsers while developing will also make it easier to do cross browser testing.

There are a lot more enhancements made in the .NET 4.5 framework as well like Razor, JavaScript/CSS minification, MVC 4 and much more.  At some point, hopefully soon, I will make an additional post on the enhancements and new features in .NET 4.5 that have me impressed.

So in conclusion I have found Visual Studio 2012 to be very easy to adjust to.  I have also not run into any reasons so far as to suggest staying away from upgrading.  So if you have the freedom and availability to upgrade you should.

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