Announcing Visual Studio 11 Developer Preview

Today in the BUILD keynote I had the opportunity to show some of the new functionality in Microsoft® Visual Studio® 11 Developer Preview and Microsoft® Team Foundation Server Preview.  MSDN subscribers can download the previews today as well as the new release of .NET Framework 4.5 Developer Preview; general availability is on Friday, September 16.

Some exciting announcements are being made here at BUILD.  Visual Studio 11 provides an integrated development experience that spans the entire lifecycle of software creation from architecture to code creation, testing and beyond. This release adds support for Windows 8 and HTML 5, enabling you to target platforms across devices, services and the cloud.  Integration with Team Foundation Server enables the entire team to collaborate throughout the development cycle to create quality applications.

.NET 4.5 has focused on top developer requests across all our key technologies, and includes new features for Asynchronous programming in C# and Visual Basic, support for state machines in Windows Workflow, and increased investments in HTML5 and CSS3 in ASP.NET.

We’ve shared a lot at BUILD already, for more on the future of Windows development I suggest you take a look at Steven Sinofsky and S. Somasegar’s blogs. More details on Team Foundation Server including the new service announced at BUILD and how we’re helping teams be more productive can be found on Brian Harry’s blog.

Quick Tour around Visual Studio 11 Features

Visual Studio 11 has several new features, all designed to provide an integrated set of tools for delivering great user and application experiences; whether working individually or as part of a team. Let me highlight a few:

Develop Metro style Apps for Windows 8

Visual Studio 11 includes a set of templates that get you started quickly developing Metro style applications with JavaScript, C#, VB or C++. The blank Application template provides the simplest starting point with a default project structure that includes sample resources and images. The Grid View, Split View, and Navigation templates are designed to provide a starting point for more complex user interfaces.

From Visual Studio 11, seamlessly open up your Metro style app with JavaScript in Expression Blend to add the style and structure of your application.

Due to the dynamic nature of HTML it is often difficult to see how a web page is going to look unless it is running.  Blend’s innovative interactive design mode enables you to run your app on the design surface as a live app instead of a static visual layout.

Enhancements for Game Development

We have added Visual Studio Graphics tools to help game developers become more productive, making it easier to build innovative games. Visual Studio 11 provides access to a number of resource editing, visual design, and visual debugging tools for writing 2D / 3D games and Metro style applications. Specifically, Visual Studio Graphics includes tools for:

Viewing and basic editing of 3D models in Visual Studio 11.

Viewing and editing of images and textures with support for alpha channels and transparency.

Visually designing shader programs and effect files.

Debugging and diagnostics of DirectX based output.

Code Clone Analysis

Visual Studio has historically provided tools that enable a developer to improve code quality by refactoring code. However this process depends on the developer to determine where such reusable code is likely to occur. The Code-Clone Analysis tool in Visual Studio 11 examines your solution looking for logic that is duplicated, enabling you to factor this code out into one or more common methods. The tool does this very intelligently; it does not just search for identical blocks of code, rather it searches for semantically similar constructs using heuristics developed by Microsoft Research.

This technique is useful if you are correcting a bug in a piece of code and you want to find out whether the same bug resulting from the same programmatic idiom occurs elsewhere in the project.

Code Review Workflow with Team Explorer

Visual Studio 11 Preview works hand in hand with Team Foundation Server 11 to provide best in class application lifecycle management. Visual Studio 11 facilities collaboration is by enabling developers to request and perform code reviews through using Team Explorer. This feature defines a workflow in Team Foundation Server that saves project state and routes review requests as work items to team members. These workflows are independent of any specific process or methodology, so you can incorporate code reviews at any convenient point in the project lifecycle.

The Request Review link in the My Work pane enables you to create a new code review task and assign it to one or more other developers.

The reviewer can accept or decline the review, and respond to any messages or queries associated with the code review, add annotations and more. Visual Studio 11 displays the code by using a “Diff” format, showing the original code and the changes made by the developer requesting the review. This feature enables the reviewer to quickly understand the scope of the changes and work more efficiently.

Exploratory Testing and Enhanced Unit Testing

As development teams become more flexible and agile, they demand adaptive tools that still ensure a high commitment to quality. The Exploratory Testing feature is an adaptive tool for agile testing that enables you to test without performing formal test planning. You can now directly start testing the product without spending time writing test cases or composing test suites. When you start a new testing session, the tool generates a full log of your interaction with the application under test. You can annotate your session with notes, and you can capture the screen at any point and add the resulting screen shot to your notes. You can also attach a file providing any additional information if required. With the exploratory testing tool you can also:

  • File actionable bugs fast. The Exploratory Testing tool enables you to generate a bug report, and the steps that you performed to cause unexpected behavior are automatically included in the bug report.

  • Create test cases. You can generate test cases based on the steps that caused the bugs to appear.

  • Manage exploratory testing sessions. When testing is complete, you can return to Microsoft Test Manager, which saves the details of the testing session and includes information such as the duration, which new bugs were filed, and which test cases were created.

What’s New in .NET 4.5

.NET 4.5 has focused on our top developer requests.  Across ASP.NET, the BCL, MEF, WCF, WPF, Windows Workflow, and other key technologies, we’ve listened to developers and added functionality in .NET 4.5.  Important examples include state machine support in Windows Workflow, and improved support for SQL Server and Windows Azure in ADO.NET.  ASP.NET has increased investments in HTML5, CSS3, device detection, page optimization, and the NuGet package system, as well as introduces new functionality with MVC4.  Learn more at Scott Guthrie’s blog.

.NET 4.5 also helps developers write faster code.  Support for Asynchronous programming in C# and Visual Basic enables developers to easily write client UI code that doesn’t block, and server code that scales more efficiently.  The new server garbage collector reduces pause times, and new features in the Parallel Computing Platform enable Dataflow programming and other improvements.

Start Coding

Visual Studio 11 includes several new features which will help developers collaborate more effectively while creating exciting experiences for their users.  Here are some are some resources to help you get started.


Comments (40)

  1. Hassan Fadili says:

    Thanks Jason for the great preview. We will give It a try and report the feedback. Nice work. Go a head and congrats to the VS, TFS & Win teams for making the preview bits reallity. Awesome.

  2. Mathias Raacke says:

    Hello Jason,

    when can we expect a preview of the Visual Studio 11 SDK (for MSDN subscribers)? Will Visual Studio Industry Partner Program members get the SDK sooner? (we are not a VSIP partner yet, but that would be a good reason for joining).



  3. Dan Arket says:

    Will the 260 character limit be fixed in this version of VS and Windows 8?…/2156195-fix-260-character-file-name-length-limitation

  4. Robert Beaubien says:

    Do you have an expected RTM timeframe for VS11?  

    I'm assuming late this year since you are using "11" and this is likely v12 of visual Studio.

  5. Quppa says:

    So… WinRT is only for Metro style applications, right?

  6. Scott B. says:

    @Robert Beaubien:

    Visual Studio 2010 is v10. Of course, vNext *is* v11.

  7. Aaron Marten says:

    @Matthias   The Visual Studio 11 SDK is no longer a separate installation. You will find all the tools, templates, etc… required for building Visual Studio extensions already included in the Visual Studio 11 Developer Preview build.

  8. Stefan Olson says:

    What is new in WPF?

  9. Guojun Chen says:

    eee…Where is C++ AMP ?

  10. Mathias Raacke says:

    @aaron Thanks, great to hear.

    That means I'll work on a VS11 version of NLocalize today :-).

  11. strongers says:

    software is crazy

  12. Patrick Smacchia says:

    Do you have any rough idea of dev11 beta1/beta2/rtm schedules?

  13. mick delaney says:

    what about being able to turn off certain features?? to conserve on resources… our organisation doesnt use TFS but we get penalised as its still part of visual studio and takes up resources, all features like this should be optionally turn on and off…

    is there a way to do this today???

  14. Inge Henriksen says:

    Comes with support for C# 5 ?

  15. MaxMax says:

    What versions have the languages? F# is 2.5? 3.0? C# 4.5? 5.0? VB.NET??

  16. Mike O says:

    Is there a download for projects other than Metro?

  17. aaa says:

    Will VS11 have "compiler as a service"?

  18. in Other words 'it is PERFECT'. Visual Studio is The Best IDE for developers at the WorldWide!

  19. Steve Jobs says:

    Will it have support for objective-c?

  20. JEmlay says:

    "You will find all the tools, templates…."

    Um….is anyone else having an issue where upon launching VS11 and starting a new project there are NO TEMPLATES?

    The VS2008 "devenv" solution does not fix this issue.  I'm stuck with no templates.  Can't even start a project 🙁

  21. Tony says:

    Hi Jason

    I can't see the extensions for game development that you refer to. I've installed VS 11 Developer Preview on Windows 7.

    Are they only available on Windows 8 perhaps?

  22. rbeck says:


    Is it possible to have VS2010 and VS2011 on the same computer please ?

  23. patrik says:

    i have one question ?

    why .NET Framework 4 do't support .NET Framework 3.5 app or etc.

    it's very bad for developers and users.

    install .net 3.5 ,no it's work with .net 2.

    ok ,install .net 4 , no it's work only with .net 3.5





    once install .net and use of all.this is very good.

  24. elise says:

    i have one question ?

    why .NET Framework 4 do't support .NET Framework 3.5 app or etc.

    it's very bad for developers and users.

    install .net 3.5 ,no it's work with .net 2.

    ok ,install .net 4 , no it's work only with .net 3.5





    once install .net framework and use of all.this is very good.

  25. Joshua Goodman - msft says:

    Patrik and Elise both ask why .NET 4 doesn’t support .NET 3.5 apps. There were changes we wanted to make in .NET 4 that we couldn’t make in a 100% compatible way  — things like fixing bugs where some developers might have depended on the broken behavior.  Most developers can simply recompile and test their 3.5 apps on .NET 4, and it will work; they can also create config files that say their apps support both.  But because some apps might depend on 3.5 behavior, we don’t opt-in applications to .NET 4 unless they’ve been compiled for it or configured for it.  I talk a bit about compatibility and its challenges in my //build talk…/TOOL-834T   Of course, right now, we’re talking about .NET 4.5, which will be compatible with .NET 4 – your .NET 4 applications will all run on .NET 4.5.

  26. Boris Jabes [MSFT] says:

    @Tony the graphics tools should work in VS11 on Win7 just fine. You need to install Pro or Ultimate though.

  27. Jason Zander says:

    @Robert, @Patrick Smacchia – We don't have any announcements on timing for milestones. You should generally expect that when Windows ships a new version we will have a version of the tools to go with it. We will be following the milestones that Steven Sinofsky outlined in his keynote.  Stay tuned…

    @Quppa – Correct, WinRT is for Metry style applications. I recommend Ales' talk about the platform for more information (…/BPS-1005)

    @Stefan – I would recommend viewing Joshua Goodman's "What's new in .NET Framework 4.5" talk for more on the framework (…/TOOL-834T)

    @mick delaney – we have options for turning off power tools etc today (Tools, Options).  We've also done performance work in "Visual Studio 11" which are designed to ensure you do not have features faulted in when you are not using them.  Give the preview a try and let me know if you see any issues.

    @Mike O – the full Visual Studio 11 drop does not require Windows 8 and has support for all of our typical project types.

    @aaa – Visual Studio 11 will not come with the new "compiler as a service" work that Anders showed.  We will instead be making CTP's available early for evaluation.  This is what we did in LINQ as well.  Locking down new compilers takes an entire release cycle with production work so we don't want to rush it.

    @Steve – no, but it does have a kick butt debugger 🙂

    @JEmlay – sorry you are hitting issues with setup on this.  Please contact me via this blog if you are hitting problems and we'll see what we can do.

    @rbeck – yes, VS2010 and Visual Studio 11 can be run side by side on the same computer (that is how most of us on the team run it). Note that uninstall of the preview will be required so do read through the caveats in the release notes

  28. @Guojun Chen – C++ AMP is in this release – I imagine that you're looking at the File-New Projects templates and thinking "There aren't any C++ AMP templates". This is actually a good thing, C++ AMP is just part of the C++ compiler & libraries and you can use them in any C++ project.

    There are a few issues, this is preview software – You can find more information here:…/vs-11-developer-preview-gotchas-with-c-amp.aspx

    Tony Goodhew

    Microsoft Corp.

  29. @ Inge Henriksen & @ MaxMax,

    I've seen some questions about the C#, VB, and F# language version numbers in Visual Studio 11. Here they are: C# 5.0, VB 11.0, and F# 3.0.


    Lisa Feigenbaum

    VS Community Program Manager

  30. Mike O says:

    So to get the full set of project types, I need to do the VS 11 install on top of the tablet software that was pre-installed on the tablets handed out at the conference?

  31. telerik says:

    why do you ctreate new features or new syntax in c# for hardware programming.all time we had to import c/c++ dlls or libraries without depth controling for code.

  32. telerik says:

    why do you not ctreate new features or new syntax in c# for hardware programming.all time we had to import c/c++ dlls or libraries without depth controling for code.

  33. Doug says:

    2 questions: first will we be able to now see the design time call heirarchy (callstack viewer without having to build) for like we can with C#? And will the "New Window" functionality now work for as well?  

  34. alek says:

    i have one problem with visual stedio 2010.when i open tow or three projects with vs 2010.this program comletely freeze.

    for example i add one buttun or even add new code but show old compiled program.whitout adding new controls or codes.or apply new changing.

    i had to clean "programname.pdb" file and clean "Properties" files and run vs2010 debug that give error and again copy paste properties file into main place

    until program work true.

    please improve this problem in next vs.


  35. Chris B says:

    Is this the final name for the product (Visual Studio 11) or will there be a year designation like the previous Visual Studio releases (for example Visual Studio 2012)?

  36. Mark Donoghue says:

    Does Code Clone Analysis work with C++ projects?  I get a "No supported project kind" error.  If not – is support expected in VS2011 Beta/Release?

  37. alexy says:

    Microsoft do't decide for design Artificial Intelligence progrmmaing language in .Net platforms ?

  38. @Doug yes! The Visual Studio 11 Developer Preview now offers support for VB Call Hierarchy (…/visual-studio-11-developer-preview-visual-basic-vb-call-hierarchy.aspx) just like C#! Also, can you elaborate on what you mean by the "New Window" functionality?


    Cathy Sullivan

    Program Manager, Visual Studio Code Experience

  39. Rong Lu says:

    Hi Mark,

    Thank you for your interest in Code Clone Analysis feature! We don't yet have support for C++, and it's unfortunate that looks like the work to enable this feature for C++ doesn't fit the current schedule of Beta or RTM. We'll definitely look into this feature in the future. It's great to know our customers are interested in seeing this work for C++. Thanks for your feedback!


    Rong Lu

    Program Manager, Visual C++ team

  40. ANNADATHA RAO says:

    we have seen lot of performance issues in vs 2010 as it is build around wpf. Will it be same case for 2011. VS 2010 performance is far degraded when it comes compare with VS 2008 (which is much developer friendly while comparing performance). Can you kindly share any improvements in Entity Framework designer , which doesn't work very well with fairly large data bases ( 150+ tables ) in vs 2010. Silverlight development is neither great, often end up with xap memory errors (while compiling. Only works well with windows 64 bit windows 7).    

    These are minimum expectations developer community looking while building large scale applications. Any update on this is highly appreciated.

    Thank you

    Fan of Microsoft    

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