Hey, Developers: ‘Start Building’ for Windows 8 and the Microsoft Platform

REDMOND, Wash. — Aug. 15, 2012 — It’s a great time to be in software development.

That’s Microsoft’s message for developers today, says S. Somasegar, corporate vice president of the company’s Developer Division. Visual Studio 2012 and .NET 4.5 – the tools that form the backbone for developing on the latest Microsoft platforms, including Windows 8 – have been released to the Web, Microsoft announced today. MSDN subscribers can download the tools and start building modern apps across the Microsoft platforms and for the cloud.

The official launch of Visual Studio 2012 will take place Sept. 12 with a virtual event.

S. Somasegar

S. Somasegar

August 14, 2012
S. Somasegar is corporate vice president of Microsoft Developer Division.

The opportunity for Microsoft developers has never been better, Somasegar says. The company is refreshing just about every piece of its platform in 2012, highlighted by Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8, but including new versions of Windows Azure, SharePoint and Windows Server. Visual Studio 2012 and .NET 4.5, the developer tools used to create applications for those products, were built hand-in-hand with the refreshed platform.

“The opportunity for a developer – whether you’re building a Windows 8 app, a Windows Phone app or a Windows Azure app – is huge,” Somasegar says. “You have a whole new set of capabilities in the platform, and a great set of tools that go hand-in-hand, all coming out now.”

According to Somasegar, the biggest opportunity lies with Windows 8, the latest version of the planet’s most popular operating system that for the first time comes with a store for apps. With the number of people running Windows north of 1.3 billion, Microsoft offers developers who choose to build apps for Windows 8 worldwide reach. Now that it has been released to manufacturing and the Windows Store is open for business, the message for developers is simple, Somasegar says: “Start building.”

“Between the Windows franchise and Windows Store, the opportunity for you to have the broadest reach possible and to monetize your work is just phenomenal,” he says.

Pick a Platform, Any Platform

The hundreds of new features in Visual Studio 2012 reflect the changing world of software development, says Jason Zander, corporate vice president of Visual Studio. Narrow job titles like “mobile developer” or “client-side developer” are outdated; instead, developers now target multiple platforms across devices, services and the cloud. Visual Studio 2012 offers an integrated toolset that enables users to build apps that run on everything from tablets to desktops to phones, and can connect to the cloud.

The product reflects the growing size and geographic scattering of development teams. Most engineering teams are embracing agile practices such as scrum and faster build cycles, and collaboration features are supported throughout the new Visual Studio.

Visual Studio 2012 also includes a number of user interface enhancements that aim to make things easier for developers, who can spend most of the day plugged into it. (“For a developer, an integrated development environment like Visual Studio is their home,” Somasegar explains.)

For example, the team embraced the design language appearing across Microsoft’s products to give users a more modern experience, and simplified graphics make for fewer distractions. They added productivity features such as debugging tools and a code clone analyzer, a tool that helps locate duplicated code sections. A comprehensive search capability enables developers to quickly find what they’re looking for across commands and configuration options, tool windows and open files. And new workflow “hubs” combine common tasks into one simplified window.

Jason Zander

Jason Zander

August 14, 2012
Jason Zander is corporate vice president of Visual Studio.

Another big change is Visual Studio 2012’s embrace of wide-ranging set of programming languages and models. “Developers want to go where they have choice,” says Somasegar. “So one of the things we’ve done in Visual Studio 2012 is work closely with our platform partners, particularly Windows 8, to make sure we provide freedom and choice.” That means JavaScript, C#, Visual Basic, Python, F# and C++ are all supported.

Download Today

Somasegar and Zander thank developers who offered feedback on the various Visual Studio 2012 release previews. They encourage everyone to download the toolset and start building modern apps for consumers and in the enterprise.

Visual Studio 2012 will help developers build touch-enabled apps that shine on upcoming Windows 8 devices. “There’s going to be an amazing user base of people with these machines who are going to be very hungry for cool applications,” Zander says. “That is the opportunity: to get your app in the hands of a huge user base.”

Somasegar echoes the idea, saying he is excited to see what developers will create with the new tools.

“We want developers worldwide to download Visual Studio 2012 and start thinking about what they want to build, whether it’s a consumer application or a business application, that’s going to take advantage of the latest and greatest platform technologies that are coming out now,” he says. “Start thinking about what is possible in terms of building new, stunning applications. And know that there’s an opportunity for you to get broad reach and monetization no matter what platform you’re targeting.”

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