There used to be a time when Microsoft would release new versions of its Visual Studio development environment every two years or so, with maybe a service pack in the middle. Since the release of Visual Studio 2013, however, the company has switched to a much faster update cadence. Today, it is releasing the third update for Visual Studio and Team Foundation Server 2013. While the previous updates focused strongly on bringing more cross-platform development features to Visual Studio, today’s launch centers more on some of the core IDE features.
One feature many developers will likely love in this release is CodeLens support for Git repositories (assuming you use Visual Studio Ultimate). Microsoft started integrating more Git features into Visual Studio over the last few months and this is yet another example of this. CodeLens shows you more information about a piece of code (where else was this function used? who last edited it?) right in your IDE. Until now, this only worked in conjunction with Microsoft’s own Team Foundation Server, but now you can also get this kind of information when you use a Git-based system.
The other area the Visual Studio team focused on with Update 3 is its diagnostics tooling. This includes an updated tool for keeping track of your apps’ CPU and memory usage, for example. Application Insights, Microsoft’s new tool for monitoring deployed applications, is also now built right into Visual Studio to make it easier for developers to see what their users are doing and diagnose code issues.
There are also new tools for working with Azure features like Push Notifications and Azure Mobile Service. With the push notifications updates, developers can now manage device registrations right from Visual Studio now, for example, which may not be all that useful in production, but makes life easier during the development phase.
It’s also now easier to create an Azure Mobile Service to go with a project. Other Azure-related updates include the ability to remotely debug 32-bit virtual machines and to check storage activity logs and provision read-only storage on Azure from Visual Studio through the updated Azure SDK.
As usual, there are plenty more features in this update, including new devops tools, updates to ASP.NET and new features for developers who write hybrid apps. You can find a full list here.
OH — AND IF YOU REALLY DIDN’T LIKE THAT VISUAL STUDIO 2013 USES ALL CAPS FOR ITS MENU BARS, your days of agony are finally over. Microsoft tells us that in Update 3, you can now also show the menu in title case. That alone may be worth the update for some.