Visual Studio 11 Developer Preview Announced

Visual Studio 11 Developer Preview Announced

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Today in his keynote at BUILD, Jason Zander announced the availability of the .NET Framework 4.5 Developer Preview, Microsoft® Visual Studio® 11 Developer Preview and Microsoft® Team Server Preview.  If you are an MSDN subscriber, you can download the preview immediately via this link. For everyone else, Visual Studio 11 and Team Foundation Server 11 will be generally available starting at 10:00 AM PDT on Friday. 

What’s New in the Visual Studio 11 IDE? 

A key goal with the Visual Studio 11 release was to improve the developer experience by focusing on the tasks that developers do the most frequently. In our research, we found that many users weren’t discovering features that could make them most productive. To solve this, we streamlined our UI and enhanced high usage tool windows such as the Solution Explorer so that its easier than ever to discover and use the features that make you most productive.  Users also want to use search as a primary means of navigating their IDE and Solutions and so we’ve integrated search and made it more prominent in many places in the product.

One of the first changes that you’ll notice as you get started with Visual Studio 11 are the Simplified Toolbars.  In the image below, you can see that we’ve eliminated the clutter and ensured that you only ever need one row of toolbars to get your job done. This was accomplished by taking a hard look at each of the commands that was on the main toolbars and focusing only on the commands that are more frequently used on the toolbars. We also know that the most frequently used commands vary by user which is why we’ve made it easy to add commands back via the down arrow on the toolbar.

Many of you may already be familiar with the Productivity Power Tools which are a set of popular extensions to Visual Studio 2010.  One of the key themes in the Power Tools was to provide users with better search capabilities. Based on user feedback, we have taken the best of these features and fully-integrated them into Visual Studio 11.  The improved Solution Explorer (shown below) allows you to search and browse the relationships of types and members within VB, C# and C++ projects.  The new Find Control integrates the power of incremental search with a streamlined UI that ensures that your code remains front and center. Quick Launch is an integrated version of the Quick Access power tool that allows you to easily launch project templates, commands and options for a searchable UI that is always present on the main menu. We’ve also added search capabilities to the Toolbox and Add Reference Dialog.

In past releases, evaluating a CTP or Beta took a bit of work as it required upgrading your projects to the new version. With this Developer Preview, we have introduced Project Compatibility which eliminates the need to upgrade most project types so that you can seamlessly work on the same solution using Visual Studio 11 or Visual Studio 2010 SP1. 

Related Blogs

Visual Studio 11 contains many more IDE enhancements than can be called out in a single blog post.  Over the coming weeks, stay tuned to this blog for more articles that talk about these features in depth and introduce some new ones.  I’d also like to highlight that each of the languages in Visual Studio have made significant improvements to their developer experience and the best place to learn about them is on their team blogs:

VB Team Blog:

C# Team Blog:

C++ Team Blog:

F# Team Blog:

We Want Your Feedback!

Your feedback is an important part of our software development cycle. We review every comment that we receive and are constantly using this feedback to improve the product.  If you encounter a bug or find something that doesn’t work as you would expect, please log on to Microsoft Connect and file a bug:  If you have a suggestion for a great new feature addition, take a look at our User Voice site where you can vote on other user suggestions and add your own:

Sean Laberee

Lead Program Manager

Visual Studio Pro Experience Team

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  • Awesome! can't wait until Friday so I can get my dev11 on! :)

  • I wish the VS UI would adopt a standard look & feel. It's not just the inconsistency with the rest of the OS, and my colour/theme choices as a user, but particulars such as the look & feel of floating windows.

    (Strange, aliased window borders that look incongruous to the rest of the OS, lack shadows, and look like something a late-90s hardware vendor's software department might have thrown together in a misguided attempt to make their crapware stand out from the crowd.)

    If I wanted my windows, visual styles and colours to look that way, I'd install a theme to make all of them look that way.

    What sort of example does it set when the tool for making applications flouts all the OS rules like this? And what is the actual benefit here?

    ...and is MSDN ever going to fix the problem with comments being thrown away, without so much as an error message, if you post them a few minutes after the page loaded? That bug has existed across the MSDN blogs platform since the "/b/" version rolled out, which must be months or even years ago by now, and people keep complaining about it but it is never fixed. Come on, MS, pull your socks up and set a better example for the industry.

  • I for one am glad that they aren't making it look like the rest of the OS. Dumbing it down with ribbons, huge buttons and graphics and hidden menus might work for a lot of applications, but would decrease my productivity in VS.

  • Can I install this side-by-side with Visual Studio 2010? So I can have both a stable and preview version on the same PC?

  • good question I would also like to know if VS2010 can run along with VS11.

  • I'm running VS11DP side by side with VS2010 and VS2008. They all work and can even be running at the same time.

    But I have a question regarding VS11. It seems that the developer preview requires Win7/2008R2. Will the final version be supported on Vista and XP?

  • We do support having a side by side installation of VS2010 and VS11. However, note that this is a Developer Preview and we generally recommend caution when installing a developer preview on your production machine.

  • I have only just made the transition from using dev C++ to now visual studio

    as they are using this program in all my computer science courses at school.

    Would working with VS2011 at home affect any way the work I would do at school on VS2010?

    Thank you

    Mark Bascug -

  • So the Solution Navigator completely replaces the Solution Explorer, huh? Please tell me you've made some performance improvements over the Solution Navigator in Productivity Power Tools! It's unbearably, unusably slow when you've got tens of thousands of classes in hundreds of projects.

  • The generated applications CAN't run under the XP... Say 'Not a valid Win32 Application'.

  • Hi Simon,

    Can you elaborate more on what type of application you are building with Dev11 that cannot be run on XP?



  • @Joe White: The Solution Navigator extension was rewritten to integrate better with Visual Studio.  Most of the performance problems of the extension have been fixed in the Solution Explorer version.


    Weston Hutchins

    Program Manager - VS Platform

  • Considering the whole C Runtime library (msvcr110.dll) doesn't load or run under XP, there's no chance you can make VC apps that run under XP.  It appears to be a deliberate decision, but unannounced.

  • Apps compiled by VS2011 can not run in Windows7!!! if VS11 don't installed on the computer. Apps show: can not find MSVCR110.dll

  • @Sergey 23 Nov 2011 8:28 AM

    Missing libraries, in this case CRT/C++ libraries. You can compile and statically link them into your program to avoid this. (Not genreally recommenaded due to higher memory consumption as Windows cannot share code pages between identical instances of dlls)

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