I caught up earlier this week with Giles Davis to find out why he uses Visual Studio 2012 Premium over Professional and he wrote this really interesting article on the features as a result which I thought would be great to share with you.  You will also find at the end of this document is a link to get 30% off if you are interested in upgrading.  However if you want to try out a few of the featured highlighted by Giles then download the free trial now.

1. Code quality tools

Visual Studio Professional provides unit testing support with a new Test Explorer window and support for other unit test frameworks (such as NUnit, xUnit and QUnit) in addition to MS Test, Premium adds in a whole range of code quality related tools:

· Code coverage to help you understand, from an assembly down to line level, how much of your code is actually being tested by the unit tests, allowing you to identify where your gaps are.

· Code metrics to help you understand where you have unnecessary complexity that can lead to defects and maintenance issues.

· Static code analysis to apply “best practice” rules against your code to help prevent security, performance, internationalisation or other vulnerabilities.

· Code profiling to identify problems in the performance of your code, investigate memory consumption and analyse threading scenarios (race conditions and deadlocks).

· Code clone analysis, new to 2012, that inspects your solution to find matching code. This can help you find “copy and paste” coding issues and help identify refactoring candidates in your codebase. Overview video

· Code review, also new to 2012, that provides a formalised means to request a code review, as well as accept a code review and comment on the review or even individual lines of code in the review. Overview video


2. Suspend and resume

Have you ever been completely engrossed in a coding task – multiple files open and being edited, breakpoints set, pending changes waiting, when someone asks you to drop everything and stat working on something else instead, like a critical bug fix? If so, then the new suspend and resume capability in Premium helps with precisely that – hit suspend and the state of Visual Studio is persisted, allowing you to switch context, do something else, and then resume back to the exact state you were in (open files, breakpoints and pending changes etc.) before the switch.


Overview video

3. Agile tools

Visual Studio 2012 introduced the new Agile tools, including the new task board that allows you to see Product Backlog Items broken down into tasks, and the state of the tasks. Premium also provides the Product Backlog and Sprint planning tools to allow you to record and manage your backlog and sprints, including capacity management. Overview video


4. Storyboards

Storyboarding is a PowerPoint add-in that allows you to create and distribute storyboards to the extended team and/or stakeholders. There are a whole range of provided storyboard shapes (containers like web pages, SharePoint sites, tablets, phones, widgets and components), and you can create and share your own.


5. Testing

Visual Studio 2012 Premium gives you access to all of the test tools which were previously in Ultimate, with the single exception of performance testing, which remains in Ultimate. There’s a huge amount under this heading but briefly the key aspects are:

· Test case management with Microsoft Test Manager, a dedicated test case management tool.

· Manual testing support, with fast forward playback to semi-automate your tests. Overview video

· Exploratory testing. This is new to 2012, and allows you to simply explore your application without a test case. You can then record rich bugs and even reverse engineer a test case if you want to add what you’ve done to a regression suite.

· Automated functional testing. Would you like to have automated tests for your web applications or thick clients? Coded UI Tests in premium do exactly that and can be created from a manual test or recorded from scratch. Overview video

· The new Feedback Client, allowing you request and receive feedback from stakeholders using a freely distributable tool.

· Lab management, providing support for virtual test environments so that you can have a completely automated build, deploy and test cycle. Overview video


Giles has said that he will post more details on the Visual Studio UK blog discussing some of these features in more detail in the coming weeks so do keep checking the Visual Studio UK blog for that and if you are planning on renewing or would like to start using these features today then why not take advantage of the offer below which is running into the new year.