This week, we released CTP 2.0 of our Extension for Multi-Device Hybrid App Development which enables developers to build apps for iOS, Android, and Windows using Apache Cordova™. This preview release, the third in three months, delivers several big features requested by customers via UserVoice, Twitter, StackOverflow and email – including support for more operating systems and debugging Android devices less than version 4.4 (“KitKat”).

Support for Windows 7 and 8. According to our data, nearly 15% of developers who attempt to install the Cordova extension are using Windows 7 or 8. Prior to this release, those developers would have had to upgrade to Windows 8.1 – which isn’t always convenient or even possible in an enterprise environment. So, starting with CTP 2.0, developers running Windows 7+ (including Windows Server 2012 R2) can install and use the same toolset previously available only on Windows 8.1.

 Windows 7 machine running Multi-Device Hybrid Apps Windows 7 machine running Multi-Device Hybrid Apps

Get up and running quickly with a well-configured dev environment. Developers who have tried building Cordova projects using other tools have told us many times over: it can take days to build a well-configured dev environment. With a dozen different dependencies and hundreds of possible version combinations – let alone environment configurations – it’s hard to know what setup will work. Using CTP 2.0, Visual Studio will guide developers through download, installation and configuration of every link in the tool chain to get developers up and running quickly. When developers open a project, Visual Studio will also perform a system diagnostic check to ensure the dev environment remains healthy. If not, Visual Studio will offer suggestions to fix the problem.

Installer takes care of the 3rd party tools acquisition and configuration

Installer takes care of the 3rd party tools acquisition and configuration

Visual Studio runs system diagnostics to ensure development environment remains healthy

Visual Studio runs system diagnostics to ensure development environment remains healthy

More debug targets for Android. With about 82% of in-market Android devices supporting a version other than 4.4 (“KitKat”), there’s a huge demand for accurate debugging on both tethered devices and emulators running Android <4.4. However, the debugging protocols most tools use didn’t become available until 4.4. Fortunately, there’s another option and with CTP 2.0, Visual Studio supports it. Using a relatively inexpensive license for jsHybugger, developers can now use Visual Studio’s debug tools against tethered devices and emulators running Android 2.3 to 4.4.

Running a Multi-Device Hybrid App on a tethered Android device

Running a Multi-Device Hybrid App on a tethered Android device

Over 300 bug fixes. Our first two releases, CTP 1.0 and 1.1, provided a great taste of what’s to come, but there’s no need to hide it: these are still developer previews and have a few rough edges. Thanks to customers posting to StackOverflow, Twitter, and blogs, we identified and fixed over 300 bugs to improve the overall product reliability, performance, and behavior. Among other things, developers can expect to find improved error messages, better installation logic for 3rd party dependencies, and faster builds.

MSDN Documentation. Developer feedback for documentation of our first release was very positive and our expanded documentation is even better. We updated and migrated the 80-page PDF tome to MSDN so developers can retrieve the most up-to-date documentation via their web browser.

Give it a try

Visual Studio 2013 customers can download and install CTP 2.0 of the extension for Multi-Device Hybrid Apps today. And, of course, we’d love to hear your feedback. You can connect directly with the product team via UserVoice, Twitter, StackOverflow and email.

 

image Ryan J. Salva, Program Manager, Visual Studio Client Tools Team

Ryan works on the Visual Studio Client Tools team where he looks after HTML, CSS and JavaScript. Today, he focuses primarily on tooling for Apache Cordova and Windows Store applications. However, he comes from a 15 year career in web standards development