The recently released Visual Studio 2013 offers myriad advantages for ASP.NET MVC developers, supporting the creation of the most intuitive and adaptable Web applications yet. The new version hit the market in October, less than one year after the previous Visual Studio release, in accordance with Microsoft's promise for a faster release cycle. Many developers have likely had time to get familiar with the new version, but for those still hesitating it's worth it to take a look at some of the new features and capacities afforded by Visual Studio 2013.
SQL Server Pro contributor Michael Otey recently highlighted some of the most promising enhancements for ASP.NET MVC development in Visual Studio 2013. Expansions to the integrated development environment (IDE) might be the most striking of all the new additions. The flat, monochrome IDE in Visual Studio 2013 was a big turn-off for many users, as it made the environment less intuitive and more difficult to parse. Microsoft did a huge overhaul for Visual Studio 2013, with adjustments to more than 400 icons expected to make the IDE more colorful, engaging and easy to differentiate.
Improving ASP.NET MVC productivity in Visual Studio 2013
Several productivity features further streamline the programming process and improve in-line navigation capacity, Otey wrote. Automatic bracket completion and keyboard shortcuts for moving lines and blocks of code make development more efficient, while features such as Peek Definition and CodeLens provide additional perspective and information about the code in use. Peek allows you to access a read-only definition of a method by hovering your cursor over the method and pressing Alt+F12, which opens a read-only pop-up window. CodeLens provides some background information on the code, such as test runs and results, which can provide more insight.
ASP.NET project consolidation is also useful, as it provides compatibility for app development, according to Otey. The templates offered in Visual Studio 2013 combine ASP.NET MVC, ASP.NET Web Forms, Web API services and WCF to improve interoperability. Additionally, the updated Team Explorer feature improves collaboration and navigation from the Home page. Git version control support, diagnostic logs and the Work Item Charting feature all facilitate faster generation of charts based on work item queries and user reports.
Visual Studio 2013 enhances lifecycle management
Writing for InfoWorld, Martin Heller complimented the positive adjustments to application lifecycle management (ALM) as improving the development process for both larger teams as well as solo working programmers. The Team Foundation Service (TFS), in particular, is a boon to controlling and extending ALM. The TFS can be configured to conduct automatic build and test processes periodically, which can significantly streamline productivity in the check in process.
"Visual Studio 2013 improves a developer's productivity in many ways, as compared to its predecessor: in the editors, in the debuggers, in the frameworks, in the wizards, and in the performance and diagnostics tools," Heller stated. "Visual Studio 2013 Ultimate goes beyond development to unit testing, smoke testing, load testing, and all the way to continuous builds and release management."