Microsoft Offers Up Visual Studio 2012 Release Candidate

Visual Studio 2012

The move means that development and testing of those products is nearly complete with only major bug-fixes made before release to manufacturing for sale and distribution.

"Given where we are in the product cycle, these updates are primarily final touches on existing features, responses to beta customer feedback, and improvements to performance," said Jason Zander, corporate vice president for the Visual Studio team in Microsoft's Developer Division, in a blog post.

[Related: Microsoft Offers Windows 8 Release Preview ]

The new releases are available for download from the Visual Studio Website.

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Until now the new development tools were tagged "11," such as Visual Studios 11, and the latest releases mark the first time they have formally been given the "2012" designation. Zander said that commits Microsoft to shipping the final release-to-manufacturing versions this calendar year.

Microsoft shipped a developer preview of the new development tools in September -- the same time it shipped the developer preview of Windows 8 -- and a beta release in February, the same time the Windows 8 Consumer Preview was made available. Microsoft has sought to keep development of the Windows 8 and Visual Studio in synch and presumably will launch the RTM versions nearly simultaneously later this year.

Microsoft is touting Visual Studio 2012 as a more simplified and productive development environment for programmers and highlighting 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.

A complete list of the Visual Studios 2012 features is available at the Microsoft Developer Network website.