2012 for Microsoft Developers

In this post I want to summarize the tools and technologies that will be coming up in 2012 from Microsoft.  All of these is public knowledge, but I wanted to outline the technologies that excite me the most.  There are some conjectures and opinions of course, and some educated guesses.  I am going to include relevant links for you to try those technologies.  All comments are greatly welcomed.

Let’s start with the operating system.  Windows 8 Consumer preview was released last week.  Here is the main page for Windows 8 at Microsoft.com   You can download an ISO image of the operating system.  I opted to install it as a virtual hard drive, following these great instructions from Eric Boyd.  Once you run through the steps, you will see an additional boot menu, where you can choose which OS you would like to run – Windows 7 or Windows 8.  I have used Windows 8 now for a few days, and it seems to be very stable to me.  There are a few apps in the app store you can download and play with.  I really liked Weather app.  It seems very intuitive and works well.  Other apps, including those from Microsoft seems to be lacking a bit IMHO.  Beta version, you know.  If you are using Windows 8 on non-touch enabled laptop, here is a list of helpful keyboard shortcuts.  As far as the release date goes, nothing has been announced yet, but it stands to reason it will be out in time for holiday season this year.  It just makes sense, since preview (beta) is out already.

Next is Visual Studio 11.  Since it has features to build Metro style applications for Windows 8, it must be released with Windows 8.  Hence, it should be out this year.  You can download the ISO here and install it on your brand spanking new Windows 8 beta image.  I have used it for 4 days now since it was released last week.  It also seems to be quite stable on my VHD based image.  It seems snappy and I have not found any issues.  You have to get used to grey-scale environment.  I thought I would not like the lack of colors, but I stopped noticing that very quickly.  There are Metro apps (windows 9 store apps) templates that ship with the Visual Studio.  I have to comment on greatly increased quality of those templates, as it compares with preview version that shipped last year.  it is quite obvious that Microsoft has put a ton of effort into the studio since preview.  A number of issues, mainly dealing with data binding, that I blogged about last year, no longer exist.  Visual Studio itself has a lot of improvements.  There are improvements to CSS editor, JavaScript editor and HTML editor,  There are also core .NET framework features, such as async / await keywords will be available, making asynchronous programming model much cleaner.  There are enhancements to web development, such as web sockets support, bundling and minification of scripts, support for asynchronous modules and handlers.  Also, Blend is shipping with VS 11.  It now supports HTML applications in addition to XAML based applications.

MVC 4.0 Beta is out as well.  You can download it here.  There are versions for VS 2010 and VS 11 beta.  The feature list is very long and you can read it here.  I am going to mention my favorite ones.  Number one I think is Web API, an alternative to WCF.  You can now have light weight communication API that is using full power of HTTP.  Yet, it has many feature that still provide powerful abstractions, making it easy for developers to use it as an alternative to WCF (REST or SOAP).  Next, I really like that Microsoft embraced mobile web as core part of web development today.

it would be a shame not to mention SQL Server 2012.  Here are some features I like:

Paging T-SQL (OFFSET and FETCH).  Those keywords essentially map to Skip and Top statements in Linq.  AN example would be

Select Person.ID, Person.Name

From Person

Where Name LIKE ‘%a%’

Order By Name



Now instead of crazy paging code you have clean and optimized queries.

There are also sequences (as an alternative to IDENTITY columns), PowerPivot enhancements, Project Crescent (Web based visualization), Data Quality Services, etc…

One feature that excites me a ton is SSDT (SQL Server Data Tools).  This is the replacement for Data Dude (Database projects in Visual Studio).  I am loving the new features and clean integration into Visual Studio as well as great support for Azure development and deployment and MS Build integration.  The install itself is fully integrated into Web Platform Installer (WebPI).

Also, entity framework version 5 will likely ship this year, as it is using enhancements to .NET 4.5.  It will have support for enumerations and spatial types, as well as performance improvements.

All-and-all, there is a lot of products, each with a ton of features, to numerous to count, that will be coming (as I am guessing) this year.  I am quite excited about these new release,s and am already learning the new features. 

Thank you.

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