Microsoft has posted a release candidate of its next version of the Visual Studio IDE (integrated development environment), as well as release candidates of the .Net framework and the Visual Studio Team Foundation Server 2012 source-control software.
With the preview release of Visual Studio, Microsoft has also settled on an official name for this version of the IDE, henceforth to be known as Visual Studio 2012. It has also unveiled a new logo for the software.
Like many companies, Microsoft usually issues release candidates (RCs) after its software goes through beta testing.
Typically, at the RC stage, software is almost ready for general use: The software has been extensively tested, the major features have been added and most of the identified bugs have been eliminated. Most of the work that remains at the RC stage involves speeding up the software's performance through optimsation, as well as further testing and bug elimination.
With this version, Visual Studio has been updated to reflect the growing market of mobile and portable devices. This version of the IDE can be used to build applications with Microsoft's Metro user interface. It also includes more tools for building Web applications that can be used across multiple platforms, using HTML5 and Microsoft's own ASP.Net. The look and feel of the software has been significantly changed, as well.
The new version of the Microsoft .Net runtime platform, version 4.5, features support for Metro-style applications as well. It also features several new features and improvements to aid in parallel computing. Visual Studio Team Foundation Server 2012 includes new templates to handle Scrum, Agile, and other increasingly popular processes for building programs in a managed environment.
Microsoft declined to offer dates for when these products will be issued in their final, production-ready forms.