Visual Studio 2013 Update 2 RC: Windows Phone 8.1 Tools, Shared Projects and Universal Windows Apps

Earlier today we announced the availability of the release candidate of Visual Studio 2013 Update 2.  This update includes support for today's new platform releases of Windows Phone 8.1 and Windows 8.1 Update 1, as well as new features across the entire Visual Studio developer experience, many of which I blogged about recently. 

Visual Studio 2013 Update 2 is one of the most significant updates we've ever done for Visual Studio, and today's RC release enables developers to get started building amazing applications for our new platform releases today.

I have highlighted below some of the major new features of Visual Studio 2013 Update 2, including Windows Phone tools and support for universal Windows app development, the final release of Team Foundation Server 2013 Update 2, and TypeScript 1.0.

Windows App Development

Today, the Windows team announced major updates across Windows and Windows Phone, including new developer platform capabilities in Windows Phone 8.1 and the next major step toward platform unification with universal Windows apps for a common Windows runtime across phones, tablets and PCs.

Developers can get started building apps for Windows and Windows Phone with Visual Studio 2013 Express for Windows Update 2 today. 

Windows Phone

Visual Studio 2013 Update 2 includes all the tools you need for developing apps for Windows Phone 8 and Windows Phone 8.1.

Developers can continue to develop their existing Windows Phone 8 apps which will run on both Windows Phone 8 and 8.1, using the many developer features added in Visual Studio 2013, including improvements to XAML IntelliSense and the new Peek and CodeLens features in the Visual Studio editor. 

To take advantage of new platform capabilities in Windows Phone 8.1, existing Windows Phone 8 apps can be easily upgraded to target Windows Phone 8.1, providing support for all the new developer features in the Windows Phone platform.

Windows Phone 8.1 also enables developers to build applications using the Windows Runtime, using the same APIs as Windows 8.1 applications.  Visual Studio 2013 Update 2 enables developing WinRT-based apps for Windows Phone in C#/XAML, C++/XAML, C++/DirectX and JavaScript/HTML.

The suite of tools in Visual Studio for Windows Store development can all be used during development, debugging and diagnostics for Windows Phone 8.1 projects.  This includes key new diagnostics tools, such as the memory profiler and the combined UI responsiveness, energy consumption and CPU utilization can be used to profile your Windows Phone 8.1 universal apps. 

Universal Windows Apps

With Windows 8.1 and Windows Phone 8.1 apps both building on the same Windows Runtime, developers can create universal Windows apps, sharing a large amount of their code between Windows and Windows Phone.  In Visual Studio, we've introduced a notion of shared projects for C#, C++ and JavaScript, making sharing code and assets between the Windows and Windows Phone heads of the same app as easy as possible.

Developers can create a project with heads for Windows and Windows Phone, or right-click to add a Windows or Windows Phone head to an existing application.


The resulting universal Windows app contains separate projects for the Windows and Windows Phone heads, each using UI elements aligned with the form factor. 

The solution also contains a Shared project which will be compiled into both heads of the application.  This Shared project is designed to maximize your ability to share code and assets between the app heads.  

.NET Native (preview)

Today we also released a preview of the .NET Native technology, which promises to combine the productivity of C# and .NET with the performance characteristics of native code.  .NET Native is a new ahead-of-time compiler which leverages our C++ compilers optimizer to produce native images with improvements to startup time, memory usage and overall application performance.  Today's preview release lets developers try out this new compilation technology for Windows Store application targeting X64 and ARM. 

For existing Windows or Windows Phone developers, Visual Studio 2013 provides the tools to bring your existing assets forward and to benefit from the closer alignment between the platforms.  And for developers new to developing for the Windows Store, there's never been a better time to develop for the platform.

Team Foundation Server 2013 Update 2 RTW

Also being released today is the final release of Team Foundation Server 2013 Update 2.  This update provides dozens of new features in TFS, including improvements to Git support, backlog management in TFS Web Access, support for tags throughout Visual Studio and improvements in lightweight charting.

One nice feature provided by TFS2013 Update 2 + VS2013 Update 2 is Incoming Changes Indicator added to Code Lens feature.  Code Lens provides information about a declaration in C# or VB source code directly at the point of attention, based on local information as well as source control data.  In Visual Studio 2013, this included references, most recent person to edit, work items and bugs related to the source code, and more. One very useful addition in Visual Studio 2013 Update 2 is the inclusion of a new "Incoming Changes" indicator.  This indicator highlights changes that are in upstream branches of your source control which will likely be merged into this code in the future, enabling you to reason not just about the code as it currently is, but about what it might look like in the future and who is working on it in which branches.

TypeScript 1.0

Also announced today was the final 1.0 release of TypeScript.  This is a major milestone for the TypeScript language, providing a foundation for robust application-scale JavaScript development. 

Tools for TypeScript 1.0 RTM are included in Visual Studio 2013 Update 2 RC.  TypeScript has been an open source project on CodePlex for the last 18 months, and is today taking the next step in opening up for contributions.

We also provide TypeScript 1.0 as an NPM package for cross-platform development, and as an add-in to Visual Studio 2012.

And so much more…

Beyond these big items, Visual Studio 2013 Update 2 includes tons of additional features.  Here's a selection of some of the top ones.

  • ASP.NET and Web Tools, including latest ASP.NET platform support, SCSS, LESS, JSON editor, and more.
  • Diagnostics Tools, including additions to IntelliTrace performance events and improved .NET memory analysis.
  • Azure Tools, including PowerShell editor and default support for auto-creating Azure resources for development/test along with new ASP.NET projects.
  • Release Management, including extending tagging to release templates and server environment configuration
  • Testing Tools, including new Coded UI Testing support for Windows Phone apps, and the ability to export test artifacts from TFS Web Access


Visual Studio 2013 Update 2 is one of the most significant updates we've released for Visual Studio, and today's availability of the go-live release candidate enables developers to start using the new Visual Studio and Team Foundation Server capabilities, as well as to develop and deploy apps for the latest Microsoft platforms including Windows Phone 8.1, Windows 8.1 Update 1.


Comments (68)

  1. AJ says:

    Great article and news Somasegar! The link for VS2013.2 in the summary is broken.…/details.aspx


  2. Charlie Jaewoong Mun says:

    Great Job, Microsoft, I totally impressed! Keep up the good work!

  3. Somasegar says:

    @AJ – Thanks, updated the link.

  4. Peter S. says:

    Any Roslyn news?

  5. LMK says:

    Looks good.

    Is there a standalone installer rather than a web installer available??

  6. Dev Ton says:

    Hello Somasegar!

    Can we newbie wanabe Developers that uses Microsoft Project Siena hope that it will support Universal Windows Apps soon???

  7. Martin says:


  8. Somasegar says:

    @Peter – there is a keynote tomorrow :).  Stay tuned…

  9. Somasegar says:

    @Martin – Shukriya!

  10. Somasegar says:

    @Dev Ton – That is definitely on the Siena team's roadmap.

  11. Rake0 says:

    Fantastic, but when will CodeLens be integrated with Visual Studio 2013 and Visual Studio Online?

  12. My Name Still s No Express for Windows Phone says:

    and still no explanation.  Way to go MS.  Way. To. Go.oggle keeps it all going just right.  Try it sometime.

  13. Somasegar says:

    Re: Windows Phone Express – The Windows Phone 8.1 tools are available in Express for Windows 2013 Update 2.  See…/downloadsdk for additional download details.

  14. LukeH says:

    @Rake0 – The Code Lens team definitely has support for Visual Studio Online on the roadmap.  Some more details here:…/code-at-scale.aspx

  15. Dev Ton says:

    @   S.Somasegar – Thanks for an great answer!! any time table … 🙂 When can I look forward to this great Siean update?  Will it also be easyer to publis directly from Siena?

  16. Bob says:

    So your not supporting VB any more by the sounds of it?

  17. LMKz says:

    Hi, I notice the new phone emulator doesn't work properly with a touch screen (at least not with mine, Samsung Ativ Pro), can't do multi-touch and click often doesn't work. Perhaps a setting somewhere, or will it be fixed before RTM? Ability to type on computer rather than having to use on-screen keyboard is a huge improvement. Also ability to have checkpoints.

    Was disappointed when I just tried to create a new WP8.1 project to see if I could attach any file type to an email, using Windows.ApplicationModel.DataTransfer. .gif file got converted to jpg, and when I used a random file extension, I got an exception. I had high hopes for the WP API improvements. Unless there is some other way to do this…

    Also notice that Universal app templates don't exist for VB.Net? Presume they are coming…

  18. Simon Dan says:

    "Summary: Visual Studio 2013 Update 2 is one of the most significant updates we've released for Visual Studio" Personally I think it's the most important update for VS so far since the release of the VS2012, not just for VS2013.

  19. Drake says:

    Please, add CodeLens feature also to MSDN Premium Subscribers

  20. RichH says:

    Hi Somasegar, Any idea when VS2013.2 and TFS2013.2 will go final?

    Really want to get these features on to our installation, but I'm not allowed to install RCs.

    Thanks, Keep up the good work. looks awesome.

  21. WinMetro says:

    I need a ISO! Where's the ISO download link?

  22. Rory says:

    Long time vs2010 developer.  Now using vs2013 for c++ cross platform development.  I like it, I very like it.  

  23. Brandon Paddock says:

    Do you have release notes with known issues and workarounds posted somewhere?

    I installed Update 2 and now I can't generate app packages to submit an update for my Win8.1 project. It keeps saying "App manifest references the image 'images/badgelogo.png' which does not have a candidate in main app package."

    badgelogo (in the three scale factors) is very much there and completely unchanged from the last release. I tried removing it from the project and re-adding it, or adding it to the "universal app" shared project file created by VS. This is making it impossible to ship an important update today.

  24. Brandon Paddock says:

    Oh strange, so it seems either that Update 2 erroneously changed the path of that badgelogo image to have a forward slash instead of a backslash, or the old version used a forward slash and the new update has decided that's no longer acceptable. Either way, that was a pretty annoying error…

  25. Oscar says:

    Where does this leave Portable Libraries? Does the new Shared projects make those obsolete?

  26. deherb3185 says:

    @RichH TFS2013.2 has RTM. See Brian Harry's blog for details here:…/tfs-2013-2-update-2-released.aspx.

    VS2013.2 RTM has not been announced, but the team is working hard on it.

  27. JohnyL says:


    Execute VS2013.2 RC.exe /layout

  28. CG says:

    Any of these news features making there way to VS 2012?

  29. Ven says:

    You forgot to add that the new great diagnostic features are a part of IntelliTrace, which is available only in in Visual Studio Ultimate, which Microsoft decided to price in Europe at so accessible price of around $23 500 converted to USD.

  30. Somasegar says:

    @Oscar – Portable libraries are a great way to share binaries between platforms.  Shared project and universal apps are a model for sharing source code.  Both are important for different use cases.  Portable libraries are particularly useful for component libraries, and also for sharing between client and server.

  31. LukeH says:

    @WinMetro – There is not an ISO download available for the RC.  We do expect to make an ISO download option available for the final RTM release of Update 2.

  32. Somasegar says:

    @Ven – There are many new diagnostics features in Update 2, with enhancements to diagnostics available in every version of Visual Studio.  New .NET memory profilers, combined UI responsiveness, energy consumption and CPU utilization, JSON debugger visualizer and more are available in Express.  There are also enhancements to IntelliTrace, which is a Visual Studio Ultimate feature.

  33. tsw says:

    wow, I am really impressed with the remote "Graphics Debugging and Graphics Frame Analysis" tools…

    and thank you for ARM support!

    this is a major.. MAJOR deal for me.

  34. Brad Carnahan says:

    I noticed there was no support for VB universal apps.  Will this be something that is forthcoming?  It seems as if more and more, VB is becoming a 2nd or 3rd class citizen in the VS ecosystem.

  35. rrv says:

    1. VB is missing – unacceptable.

    2. As usual please do not use C# to VB converters and post VB codes later which we can do ourselves now.  We want MS to put native VB way of VB code in samples – definitely no C# first then C# to VB transliterated code.

    How about an initiative where people like us can contribute converting your MS-C# only code to VB code during the Beta periods and MS could release the collective efficient (verified by MS) code in respective languages during release?

  36. witos says:

    After installing rc2 update there is no longer windows phone app template. There is only Store Apps -> Windows Phone Apps project template but there in toolbox there are no windows phone controlls. For example there is no webBrowser so that I cant get through this tutorial:…/ff402529(v=vs.105).aspx

  37. LukeH says:

    @witos – If you choose one of the "Windows Phone Silverlight" templates in the New Project dialog, you should get the same template and features as were available for Windows Phone 8.0 development with Visual Studio 2012.  Visual Studio 2013 supports targeting both Windows Phone 8.0 and Windows Phone 8.1 using these templates.

  38. witos says:

    @Luke Hoban [MS] 10 Apr 2014 9:46 AM #

    Thank You !

  39. Matt Gertz says:

    @Bob, @RRV, @Brad Carnahan:

    (My apologies for the late response to the VB question — I've been watching the Roslyn-related blogs and missed seeing these questions.)

    So, we absolutely believe that VB support for universal apps is important.  (As a VB guy from way back, I personally have a vested interest here — it's the language that I do my personal coding in.)  We are, in fact, actively investigating options on VB, so stay tuned.  (Only my innate paranoia is keeping me from being more specific here; nothing is ever "for sure" until you've fully vetted and tested it.)

    Specifically to Bob's point, I'll just add that the focus on C# initially was solely driven by resource constraints on my team as we also juggled Roslyn and open source work, as well as a lot of other things like .NET Native and so on.  (Yeah, it's been an crazy/intense/fun year for us — lots of stuff going on!)  Given that, C# was chosen for the first foray simply due to the larger volume of device apps there.  Definitely, no one should read anything into it beyond that!  

    Of course, in Roslyn, keeping the two languages in step going forward becomes *much* easier since they share a lot of underlying code in common, which is not true for the old native-based codebases.

    Once I've got any update on the VB investigation for UApps, I (or someone on my team) will post info on the VB blog (

    Thanks for comments!

    –Matt–* (Managed Languages Dev Manager)

  40. FacilisDK says:

    Looking forward to universal apps in VB.

  41. Lee Englestone says:

    Will universal apps be available if you use the Express versions of Visual Studio 2013?

  42. Somasegar says:

    @Lee – Yes, universal apps can be developed in Visual Studio Express for Windows 2013 with Update 2.

  43. Leon Meijer says:

    Can I use Shared projects for non-Store apps ? I have a use case where this is useful

  44. FredyWenger says:

    @Matthew Gertz

    A few years ago, we decided to work with because MS said that both – c# and – will be well supported in the future.

    We have now fully set on and have developed all our applications with

    We now must see that is always less supported in any way .

    Maybe our decision for was a mistake ?

    We now see that for UA (for now) only C # is supported.

    MS has also announced a partnership with Xamarin for the development of app's for windows , IOS and Android (this also is interesting )

    But… again, only C # is so far listed as a supported language.


    – How big is the chance that will support for UA ?

    – Can you say something about the support of for Xamarin?

      – Will that come?

    For all MS Customers who opt for, it is important whether will be fully supported in the future or the MS-Customers have to change from to c# (with large costs!)

    Thanks for an answer


  45. Ariel says:

    Hi, a naif question but I hope that someone can explain me if it's even possible.

    The express version that already includes the Typescript is "Express for Windows 2013 Update 2" (which requires Win8), and because the company's policy our workstations are Win7, I've installed "VS Express 2013 for Windows Desktop".

    But I would like to try TypeScript.  

    Have tried installing the above update and the Typescript add-in for VS 2012 to see if I could have available the option of Typescript projects in my VS without success.

    So, my question is: It is possible to configure an add-in, upgrade, or set the "VS 2013 Express for Windows Desktop" (Win7) to be able to create projects with typescript?

    Thank you.

  46. Dean says:

    I downloaded Visual Studio Express 2013 for Windows, which includes Update 2 RC from…/downloadsdk

    I don't see any option to create a WP8.1 app in the Express studio.

  47. Rainer says:

    The text color in cshtml files is not adjusted when switching to the dark theme … really annoying. Anyone with the same issue? Maybe a workaround?

  48. Jared Homes says:

    The universal app implementation looks great for C# but I too was quite disappointed to find the VB templates missing after downloading the update. I hope the VB templates come soon.

  49. Litoplan says:

    Hello, what about Lightswitch?

  50. ADVSDG says:

    Does this mean that now we can develop windows phone applications on 32-bit editions of Windows 8?

  51. ADVSDG says:

    And when to expect RTM release of this update?

    Company's policy – no RC / Beta products allowed.

  52. Shadi Ayman says:

    What about Visual Basic? Why isn't Universal Apps supported for Visual Basic??

  53. alimbada says:

    We have a suite of applications and services which all live in their own solutions. We also have a set of "shared" projects which all live under one folder in our source tree. This set (or a subset thereof) of projects are added to each of the solutions for the applications mentioned above and referenced by the "client" application's projects.

    How does VS 2013.2's new Shared Projects feature benefit us in this situation?

    One of the issues we face quite regularly with our current setup is that if someone updates a NuGet package referenced in a "shared" project from an app specific solution then the HintPaths to those references get replaced with a relative path to that solution and then someone has to go in and change the HintPaths to $(SolutionDir)packagesetc which is less than ideal. Would 2013.2's Shared Projects help in this situation at all?

  54. seihyung says:

    when update 2 will be released?

  55. John Horigan says:

    I have Visual Studio Express 2013 for Windows Desktop. I could not find an Update 2 RC download for Windows desktop, but I did find an Update 2 RC for Express for Windows.  I tried it, figuring that it would refuse to install if it was the wrong version. It did install but now my Visual Studio Express flavor has switched from Windows desktop to Windows (Metro). Is there any way to change my install back to Windows desktop or must I reinstall Visual Studio?

  56. Eric Knox - MSFT says:

    @John Horigan: short version – it sounds like you've installed a second Express SKU (that also had Update 2 RC), and the two Express versions now coexist on your machine. You should still be able to find "Visual Studio 2013 Express for Windows Desktop" in your start menu, and in fact, both should now also be updated to Update 2 RC.

    Longer version:

    For starters, you should know that for the first time, we're shipping what we call a "slipstream" installer. That is, it can install the original version of a product and the Update 2 RC as a single action. What you're describing when you say "Update 2 RC for Express for Windows" sounds to me like you're talking about the "slipstream" installer for a different Express version that also includes Update 2 RC as a single install experience. That Express version, as you've seen, is focused on building immersive apps.

    In parallel, it's relevant to know that our Express versions can all coexist on one machine, and our Update installer applies to all of them. Based on the product titles you're describing, I believe what you've done is originally install "Visual Studio Express 2013 for Windows Desktop" and more recently installed "Visual Studio Express 2013 for Windows".

    And due to the "slipstream" delivery mechanism above, what should have happened on your machine is that you now have two Express versions, both of which are updated to the Update 2 RC level.

    Last, if this is a problem for you, your option to clean up is to uninstall "Visual Studio 2013 Express for Windows". This should remove the Express version you say you don't want, and it should also leave the original "Visual Studio 2013 Express for Windows Desktop" updated to the Update 2 RC level.

    Last, if you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to me directly at eric.knox at (replacing " at " with "@").

  57. Sourabh Kondapaka says:

    Hello Mr.SomaSagar,

    I have a problem i am facing but none none of my questions on msdn seem to yield any answers…

    I downloaded VS 2013 express for both the updates installed but VS 2013 doesnt show Store apps under Visual C#….I could send u the screenshot of the problem…

    Please help me out with this…

  58. LukeH says:

    @Sourabh – From your description, it sounds possible that you are on a Windows 8 desktop, not Windows 8.1.  Visual Studio 2013 only contains new project templates for Windows 8.1, and these require that you are running Windows 8.1.  You can continue to use Visual Studio 2012 to create new Windows 8 projects, or upgrade your OS to Windows 8.1.  Additional details here:…/is-it-possible-to-create-a-windows-8-store-app-from-visual-studio-2013

  59. Aditya Vijay says:

    Anybody having problem with vs 2013 update 2 download link on microsoft's official site here is the direct link of  Visual Studio 2013 Ultimate Update 2 ISO…/vs2013.2_ult_enu.iso

  60. Mayank says:

    How will I be able to create windows phone 8 app not windows 8.1 app??

  61. tmenier says:

    @Leon Meijer, @alimbada

    I was wondering the same thing (whether Shared Projects could be used outside the context of Store apps). Looks like they can with this extension:

    "This preview extension enables the "Shared Projects" that are used to support Visual Studio 2013 Update 2's new "Universal App" projects to be used with almost any C#, C++ or WWA/JavaScript projects."

  62. agileinfoways says:

    If you have Xamarin.iOS 1.8.365 installed along side your Visual Studio 2013 installation, you may have noticed problems with Windows Phone and Windows Store projects not displaying correctly in the designer.  They would build ok, but you can’t set the debug target device, and the designer is broken and shows an “Invalid Markup” message, and there are a ton of Errors about the XAML.  Errors like ‘The Name “PhoneApplicationPage” does not exist in the namespace…’, etc. Here’s a screenshot of what the errors look like:


  63. KK says:

    Where is the "Visual Studio 2013 Update 2" link?? Why this link not working???

  64. Rohin Sharma says:

    Hi Dear,

    I have installed Visual Studio 2013 Update 2 and also installed SDK 8.0 as well as 8.1 in Windows 8.0 pro and

    64 bit os.

    But when i run the Windows app using Emulator 8.0 or Emulator 8.1 , it doesn't work. It give the following error :

    "Deploy Error 0x80131500 error code"

    Can you please help me to make it in running mode?

    Its very very urgent.


    Rohin Sharma

  65. Nathan Sokalski says:

    When will the VB.NET Universal App template be available?

  66. Harikrishna Menon says:

     @ agileinfoways: Xamarin is not compatible with VS 2013 and requires VS 2013 Update 2 RTM at the minimum (…/xamarin.vs_3.0). Can you please confirm if you have Update 2 RTM installed?

  67. Jorma Kokkonen says:

    Code Lens is only in Visual Studio Ultimate = 13 000$. So not available for 99% Visual Studio developers.

  68. Aman Karn says:

    i am using visual studio ultimate 2013 and am trying to develop windows phone app using Javascript but in new project dialog, windows phone doesn't show up in Javascript

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