by Asavin Wattanajantra

It's a brilliant time to be a software developer, driving innovation and helping companies all around the world push back the boundaries. Whether you're building software and services for consumers or businesses, devices or cloud, professional or for fun, developers have the potential to change the world. Move over Superman …

If you’re already part of it, you’ll know that the .NET developer community is vast and diverse, ranging from mega companies to early adopters who comment on every new .NET release. The .NET framework helps us better meet the needs of everybody developing for the platform. That’s a task as big as the community it serves!

Around 90 million machines with .NET 4.5 installed are in active use globally, and the .NET framework is on one billion active machines. The asynchronous programming model introduced in .NET 4.5 was accepted across the technology industry, with Windows Azure and other cloud services adding support.

Last year’s Visual Studio 2012 ushered in .NET 4.5, which included core runtime and class improvements, the ability to create Windows Store apps using C# and Visual Basic, and increased ASP.NET support.

We’ve published a white paper offering guidance if you’re looking for more information. But to create good code you need the right tools, and as you may have heard, we made the Visual Studio 2013 Preview and .NET 4.5.1 Framework Preview available.

What’s new in the NET 4.5.1 Framework Preview

You’ll be please to hear it’s worth feeding back on thing that aren’t working as well as they should. Most enhancements are a direct response to feedback and requests .There are a number of improvements built on the .NET Framework 4 and 4.5 releases, with effort focused on improving developer productivity and application performance. Key changes include:

· Productivity and performance enhancements for easier building of .NET applications.

· Improved debugging and general diagnostic experience for developers.

· .NET 4.5.1 includes Edit and Continue for 64 bit, support for asynchronous debugging for C#, VB, Javascript and C++ developers, managed return value inspection, and improvements in Windows Store app development.

· Greater application performance in the areas of ASP.NET app suspension, on-demand large object heap compaction, multi-core JIT improvements, and consistent performance before and after servicing the .NET framework.

Do you use XAML to build Windows Store applications or are you an HTML and JavaScript developer? Look out for a wealth of critical fixes, as well as reliability and performance improvements.

NET 4.5.1 Preview is part of the Windows 8.1 Preview and Windows Server 2012 R2 Preview, and available for installation on the same platforms  as .NET Framework 4.5. It’s also available for direct download as a standalone installation, so you don’t need to have installed the .NET Framework 4.5 previously.

Thanks to extensive compatibility testing internally and at over 70 other companies across all industries, you can rest assured the .NET 4.5.1 Preview is ready to go. Are you?

*not a pre-requisite for using .NET – optional only