2012 brought us quite a lot of new and interesting stuff from Microsoft. Here is a quick update on the new toolsets and frameworks and our current activities to integrate these.
The latest release of the .NET framework is a replacement for version 4.0 i.e. it is supposed to be 100% backward compatible to it's predecessor. .NET 4.5 introduces new major versions of its underlying languages: C# 5 and Visual Basic 11.
The most important new feature for both languages is their support for asynchronous programming implemented by a new concept based on two keywords: async and await. You can find a detailed review here: http://www.devproconnections.com/article/visual-studio-2011/net-framework-4-5-143247
Some other additions are also worth checking out:
- A nice feature has been added to trackdown bugs and issues: There is now a way to retrieve the name and line number of a calling method. That is pretty useful for custom logging and will certainly help during development and support.
- The common language runtime (CLR) has also been improved. The Portable Class Library simplifies the cross platform development supporting i.e. Windows Phone or Windows 8 apps.
- Garbage Control is now faster and less blocking - we found this to be a pretty good mechanism already. Microsoft put even more effort into making this better.
While we currently still link our PPJ framework to .NET 4.0, developers are now open to decide to link to 4.5 and make use of the new features that have been introduced.
Visual Studio 2012
Not only the framework has its new release, also the IDE comes in a new version. So what's new in our favorite IDE?
- While you could already float individual files in VS 2010 you can now float & pin complete tab sets. All in all a new set of options especially when using multiple monitors.
- For those who are not yet familiar with the rich set of commands and functions inside the IDE, Microsoft has created "Quick launch" (short cut Ctrl+Q). That way you can easily locate any function or option that could otherwise remain hidden deep inside some unknown menu hierarchies.
- A cool new feature added in VS 2012 is the code-clone detection where you can scan your code for possible clones and optimize it by reducing redundancy.
- For those who are working on web applications inside VS 2012 there is now a DOM Explorer that not only lists styles, layouts and attributes but also offers to change them immediately. This is a nice add-on to quickly test changes without the need for restarting your application.
- Visual Studio 2012 ships with two color themes (dark & light) but you can also create your own color theme by using the freely available theme editor (that also includes some more prebuild themes).
- File previewing is now much smoother in VS 2012 as well as a member listing in the Solution Explorer.
Our major conversion tool "Ice Porter" will soon be extended to also support the
generation of Visual Studio 2012 projects & solutions so that you can directly benefit from all the new features.