Microsoft's Windows isn't the only product that is looking like it will be put on a faster release track.
Visual Studio, Microsoft's developer-tool suite, is moving to a new delivery model, via which "updates" -- collections of both bug fixes and new features -- will be delivered more frequently.
The first update to Visual Studio 2012 is due out before the end of calendar 2012 -- just a few months after VS 2012 was released to manufacturing. Microsoft officials confirmed this timing on September 12 during the virtual launch of VS 2012, and noted that a Community Technology Preview (CTP) test build of Update 1 will be available before the end of September.
Some of the features that will be in Update 1, according to Microsoft:
- Windows 8 application development and porting enhancements, including the ability to target Windows XP for C++ applications without requiring side by side installations.
- Extension of agile methodologies -- specifically providing customers with additional capabilities for Agile planning along with adding Kanban support to the existing SCRUM support.
- More integrated testing functionality, such as code coverage for manual testing web apps, cross browser CodedUI or a web interface for test case management.
- Additional ALM (application lifecycle management) capabilities for SharePoint such as Load Testing and CodedUI support.
"Update 1" isn't just another name for "Service Pack 1," officials said. (In fact, while Service Packs will continue for now, Microsoft officials are evaluating whether they will be needed in the future with the addition of updates.) More updates will be forthcoming for VS 2012 in a "regular cadence," said Soma Somasegar, Corporate Vice President of Microsoft's Developer Division. He declined to say when Update 2 should be expected.
The Developer Division isn't the only unit in Microsoft that's looking for ways to get new features and functionality into users' hands more quickly. The Windows team is believed to be moving to a similar quicker release schedule, with an update to Windows 8, codenamed "Blue," expected out by mid next-year, according to sources.