Microsoft Readies Beta Release Of Visual Studio 11

Windows 8 won't be the only major Microsoft software making a preview-debut next week. Starting Feb. 29 Microsoft will offer beta releases of its Visual Studio 11, Visual Studio 11 Team Foundation Server and .NETFramework 4.5 development tools.

Microsoft's Visual Studio 11 plans were disclosed Thursday by Microsoft executives in a "sneak peak" Webcast demonstrating some of the development toolset's new capabilities.

Microsoft is slated to unveil a consumer preview release of Windows 8 on Feb. 29 in Barcelona, Spain at the Mobile World Congress 2012 conference.

It's not a coincidence: Microsoft has strove to keep many of the key development milestones for Windows 8 and Visual Studio 11 in synch, said Soma Somasegar, corporate vice president of Microsoft's Developer Division, during the Webcast.

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Microsoft delivered a developer preview of Visual Studio 11 last September at the same time it debuted the Windows 8 developer preview. Visual Studio 11 is the working "code name" for the new toolset and it's widely expected to be named Visual Studio 2012 sometime before its general availability -- a date Microsoft has yet to disclose.

Somasegar, in the Webcast, said the overall themes of Visual Studio 11 are its ability to build "modern consumer and business applications," its simplified and productive development environment for programmers, and its support for collaborative and agile software teams.

The new toolset will provide templates for developing applications using the Windows 8 "Metro-style" interface that's based on Microsoft's new Windows Runtime (WinRT) programming model. WinRT supports development in C++, C#, VB.NET and JavaScript.

The beta also will include Team Foundation Server Express, a free version of Team Foundation Server for individuals and development teams with up to five programmers.