Microsoft Developer Platform at a Glance

This is my yearly roundup of the Microsoft developer platform.  It includes Visual Studio 2012, .NET Framework 4.5, Windows Azure, Windows Phone, Office 2013, and more. 

I’ve included key links and starting points at the end to help you find your way around the vast Microsoft technical playground.




Application Infrastructure

.NET Framework 4.5
Base Class Libraries (BCL)
Common Language Runtime (CLR)
LINQ (Language-Integrated Query)

ALM (Application Life-Cycle Management)

Visual Studio 2012
Team Foundation Server
Team Foundation Service (TFS in the Cloud)

App Frameworks / Extensions

Enterprise Library
MEF (Managed Extensibility Framework) 4.5


Windows Azure SDK

Content Delivery Network (CDN)
HDInsight (Hadoop)
SQL Data Sync
SQL Reporting
SQL Server in Windows Azure Virtual Machines
Windows Azure Active Directory
Windows Azure Active Directory Graph
Windows Azure Authentication Library
Windows Azure Cloud Services (Hosted Services)
Windows Azure cmdlets
Windows Azure Management Portal
Windows Azure Marketplace
Windows Azure Media Services
Windows Azure Mobile Services
Windows Azure Tools for Microsoft Visual Studio
Windows Azure Service Management REST API
Windows Azure Service Bus
Windows Azure SQL Database
Windows Azure Virtual Machines
Windows Azure Web Sites
Windows Azure Workflow Manager

patterns & practices
Transient Fault Handling
Windows Azure Autoscaling

Collaboration / Integration / Workflow

Windows Azure Service Bus
Windows Azure Workflow Manager

Data Access


DataSets, DataTables, and DataViews
Entity Framework
LINQ (Language-Integrated Query)
WCF Data Services

Database Server

SQL Server 2012
SQL Server 2012 Database Engine
SQL Server 2012 Express LocalDB
Windows Azure SQL Database

Development Tools

Visual Studio 2012
Visual Studio LightSwitch
Windows Azure SDK
Windows Phone SDK


Kinect for Windows SDK
Microsoft Surface


Kinect Game Development
Windows Phone Game Development
Xbox Live Game Development
Xbox Live Indie Game Development


Active Directory Federation Services
Windows Azure Active Directory
Windows Azure Active Directory Graph
Windows Azure Authentication Library
Windows Identity Foundation 4.5


Common Language Runtime (CLR)
JavaScript in Visual Studio 2012
Visual Basic
Visual C++
Visual C#
Visual F#


Windows Azure Mobile Services
Windows Phone
Windows Phone SDK


Modeling Tools for ALM in Visual Studio 2012
Visualization and Modeling SDK – Domain Specific Languages

Office Applications

Office 2013
Office Development in Visual Studio
SharePoint Development in Visual Studio


Parallel Extensions for .NET
PLINQ (Parallel LINQ)
TPL (Task Parallel Library)

RIA (Rich Internet Applications)

Microsoft Silverlight
WPF (Windows Presentation Foundation) 4.5
Extensible Application Markup Language (XAML)


WCF (Windows Communication Foundation) 4.5
Windows Azure Cloud Services (Hosted Services)



ASP.NET Web Forms
Windows Azure Web Sites
Windows Store Apps

Web Server

Internet Information Services (IIS) 8

Windows Store Apps

Windows Store Apps

Windows Runtime
Windows Library for Javascript
Windows Store app APIs

Windows Server

Windows Server 2012

Windows Services

Windows Service Applications

Here are some links you may find useful ...

Key Links


Dev Centers

Getting Started

What’s New

You Might Also Like

Comments (4)

  1. Josh Reuben says:

    Some glaring omissions:


    C++ AMP

    HPC Server

  2. J.D. Meier says:

    @ Josh — Thank you.

    C++ AMP is definitely worth adding.  Done.

    I can't find a page on DirectX that I'd want to point to.

    The page on HPC Server I found shows 2008:

  3. Carl says:

    JD: Thank you for taking the time to compile this list, as I have previously communicated this is a very useful way of navigating the Microsoft application space and something that I wish someone editing MSDN would recognise and provide (and maintain). Sometime there is simply too much content to deal with without something like this.

  4. J.D. Meier says:

    @ Carl — Thank you.

    Information Architecture is always a challenge with gigantic warehouses of content.  One of my last projects a few moons back was helping MSDN with their IA.  I was amazed by the sheer volume and entry points and what it takes to really create a simple, but useful experience.

    I think that experience really taught me the value of being able to start simple, but be able to really dive into the complex and complete.

Skip to main content