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Visual Studio 2013 reaches beyond the IDE

Martin Heller | Feb. 13, 2014
Microsoft delivers editing, debugging, deployment, project architecture, and ALM improvements stretching from Windows to Web development, from mobile devices to clouds

Given the amount of JavaScript I've been writing the last few years, I might resent the fact that Visual Studio's JavaScript editor has yet to receive these whizzy new features. Nevertheless, I'm thankful that the JavaScript support in Visual Studio 2013 has improved to the point where I don't feel the urgent need to switch to a different editor (say, Sublime Text) every time I work with a large JavaScript file. I'm also thankful for the JavaScript features added to Visual Studio by the free Web Essentials plug-in.

Codelens shows you version history comments in your code. It will also tell you if there's been a check-in for the code since you last pulled it from the repository.

The ability to add Python support to Visual Studio 2013 with a simple install from within the IDE is also nice. While the Python support doesn't seem to be as good as, say, the C# support, it works — both for IronPython and CPython, although not JPython. Django is supported as well, and a Django project is one of the New Project options for Python.

My real Visual Studio workspaces (unlike the toy projects I used for screenshots in this article) tend to be enormous, multipronged extravaganzas set up so that I can build and edit everything I care about from one solution. With Visual Studio 2010, my morning routine was to log in, start Visual Studio, boil a quart of water, brew tea, let the tea steep, pour the tea, add honey, and return to my machine around the time all the projects became usable — a multiminute delay despite the fact I had an automatic task set to update from source control and rebuild all my projects very early every morning. I would typically try to keep Visual Studio 2010 open all day rather than incur the startup overhead again, but sometimes my application bug would hose the IDE.

In Visual Studio 2012, asynchronous startup of the IDE improved the situation noticeably. In Visual Studio 2013 it's not going to be a problem if I forget to start the IDE before preparing the tea. As long as the tabs I opened the night before are the ones I now want, I should be up and running in less than a minute.

One ASP.Net project
Web development tooling has taken a giant leap forward in Visual Studio 2013. Visual Studio 2012 had seven different ASP.Net project types, and if you started with what turned out to be the wrong one you were in for painful editing chores. Visual Studio 2013 has one ASP.Net project to rule them all, and it's a huge improvement over its predecessors, letting you mix and match Web technologies using a wizard.


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