As I’ve written about previously, we’ve been developing tools for building the next-generation of apps for Office and SharePoint.  These tools manifest both as an online experience known as “Napa”, which we’ve been updating on a weekly basis, as well as a complete set of extensions to the rich Visual Studio client, extensions we’ve shared several times in preview form. Hot on the heels of last week’s announcement of commercial availability of the new Microsoft Office 365, I’m excited to announce that today we’re releasing those rich client tools, the Microsoft Office Developer Tools for Visual Studio 2012.  You can download them now from http://aka.ms/OfficeDevToolsForVS2012.

The Office Developer Tools for Visual Studio 2012 provide broad and deep support, ranging from new templates to new designers to a whole host of integrated lifecycle tools.  They enable developers to create, edit, test, debug, package, and deploy apps for Office and SharePoint, across all current Office and SharePoint hosting models and app types.  In addition, beyond supporting a new application model based on web technologies, these tools also provide full support both for VSTO Add-ins and SharePoint Solutions.

For those of you who have downloaded our preview builds of these tools, you’ll find some very welcome enhancements in this release.  For example, the tools now include a validation experience that helps you to find and fix common errors prior to submitting your apps to the Office Store.  They enable a continuous integration workflow, with both the on-premises Team Foundation Server and the cloud-hosted Team Foundation Service supporting build workflows for apps for Office and SharePoint. Windows Azure cloud service projects can be used to easily create provider-hosted apps for SharePoint.  The workflow designers have been dramatically improved, with a lot of fit-and-finish applied since the last preview.  Remote debugging is now much more applicable and powerful, thanks to Service Bus.  And a whole lot more.

As an avid user of both Office and SharePoint, I’m frequently on the lookout for the next great app to make me and my team more productive.  To share your apps in the Office Store so that users like me can find them, you’ll need an Office 365 Developer Subscription, which includes a SharePoint Online Developer Site customized for creating and testing apps, and a Microsoft Seller Dashboard account to make your apps available to the hundreds of millions of Office and SharePoint users worldwide.  To assist you with this, we’ve added a new MSDN benefit for subscribers of Visual Studio Premium and Ultimate with MSDN: a one-time 12-month Office 365 Developer Subscription. Eligible MSDN subscribers can activate this benefit today from their My Account page at http://msdn.microsoft.com/subscriptions/ (the benefit excludes MPN, DreamSpark, BizSpark, and WebsiteSpark subscriptions).

Download the tools, and get started building your app today.  For more information on building apps for Office and Sharepoint, see the Apps for Office and SharePoint blog.

Namaste!

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