Visual Studio 2013 Release Candidate inches closer

Visual Studio 2013 Release Candidate inches closer

Summary: Microsoft may be poised to deliver the near-final release candidate of Visual Studio 2013 sooner rather than later.


A week after announcing Windows 8.1 was not going to be made available early to developers, Microsoft is getting closer to making available the near-final release-candidate (RC) test build of its Visual Studio 2013 tool.


Last week, I heard from sources that Microsoft was making VS 2013 RC available internally. The company also may have made the RC bits available to a handful of select third-party developers, sources said late last week.

On September 2, reported that the RC of Visual Studio 2013 had leaked to the Web. (I saw that  report via Neowin.Net.)

The availability of the RC is interesting in light of Microsoft's decision to withhold the Windows 8.1 RTM bits from MSDN/TechNet and volume licensees until Windows 8.1 launches on October 18. (Some handpicked developers who are building apps that Microsoft wants to showcase at launch are getting the RTM bits, according to Peter Bright at Ars Technica -- something Microsoft officials confirmed when I asked.)

The decision not to make the RTM bits available early has angered a number of Windows developers who said they need earlier access to the RTM bits in order to test and deliver their Windows Store/Metro-Style apps in a timely fashion.

But a number of Windows 8 developers said they actually needed the final Visual Studio 2013 bits and software development kit (SDK) more than they needed the Windows 8.1 RTM bits. Microsoft delivered a preview of Visual Studio 2013 in late June and officials have said the RTM version of VS2013 will be out before the end of calendar 2013.

Microsoft is advising developers to use the preview of Visual Studio 2013, coupled with the consumer preview of Windows 8.1, to build Windows 8.1 apps and migrate their existing Windows 8 apps to Windows 8.1. The Windows Store won't be open for Windows 8.1 app publishing until October 18, Microsoft officials confirmed on August 27.

It might help take the some of the sting out of Microsoft's decision to withhold the RTM bits from developers if the company delivered to testers an RC and the final versions of Visual Studio 2013 before October 18.

I asked Microsoft whether it was close to making Visual Studio 2013 RC available and received the following from a spokesperson:

"Visual Studio 2013 will be available later this year. We’ll have additional information to share in coming weeks.Visual Studio 2013 Preview is available now for developers who want to build for Windows 8.1."

The spokesperson added that the company will provide updates as soon as there's something to share publicly.

Visual Studio 2013 -- and Net 4.5.1 -- add support for asynchronous debugging (when using VS 2013 on Windows 8.1, not older Windows releases) for C#, VB, JavaScript and C++ developers, among other features. The latest VS release also adds improvements for those using XAML, HTML and JavaScript to build Windows Store/Metro-Style apps.

I'd expect Microsoft to continue to provide regular, near quarterly updates for Visual Studio 2013 once it RTMs, the same way it has done with Visual Studio 2012.

Topics: Software Development, Microsoft, Web development, Windows 8


Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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  • It doesn't really matter...

    ...that Microsoft is holding back the bits. Those people who really want the RTM version of Windows 8.1 or the RC Preview of VS2013 can get it, all have been leaked to the web and this is not really news.
  • Good products but bad timing

    Ultimately both Windows 8.1 itself and VS 2013 are required to develop new store apps, so I'm not sure the early release of one without the other really helps much. Even beyond store apps it's a problem; I write web apps and desktop/WPF apps and am quite annoyed that I won't be able to test on the final IE 11 and Windows 8.1 desktop before my customers could potentially start running those platforms.

    In any case I am very much looking forward to some of the code editor improvements in VS 2013. You wouldn't think that in 2013 there could be much innovation or improvement in a code text editor, but they've made some fairly substantial improvements that I know will make a difference for me, regardless of whether I'm working on web/desktop/store/phone/etc. For example, the screenshot in the article illustrates the ability to see who recently changed a piece of code and what the change was, pulled from TFS and displayed right in the code editor. As a dev lead, being able to see this information when I have a concern with recently checked in code is very useful. The information was already available, of course, but I had to go digging for it.

    For all the complaints about some of Microsoft's products, they sometimes knock it out of the park, and I suspect VS 2013 will fall in this category. It's just too bad the clear messaging and transparency aren't there as well.
    • We abandoned Source Safe and TFS long ago

      SVN has had this for years.... They waited too long to bring it up to the same snuff. I personally like that it isn't IDE integrated as well.... The fewer complex hooks, the better.
      • TFS, SVN, and Source Safe

        TFS has had this information for years as well. Of course you could see who changed what. The benefit here for me as someone who's job it is to manage the development of an application is the tight integration.

        Of course, this is just one such annotation. You can also see references from other parts of the codebase, unit test results, etc. I know some developers prefer using vim with command line tools. I've been there and I guess I don't see the benefit in that tool chain, but to each his/her own. (By the way, you don't HAVE to use VS to use TFS.)

        I can't speak to Source Safe, although I hear it was pretty awful. I did put my time in the SVN world for years. I can't imagine going back.
    • It was called "annotate" in TFS2010

      "Source Control > Annotate" would create an editor view with the developer name in the margin area of each line/section.
      • Where has this been all my life?

        nice to learn something new. I've been too busy coding to experience all the options in TFS. The more I use it, the better it is.
  • Browser Link

    Browser Link is one of the most awesome features. Basically it allows browser/extension authors to create plugins with links back to VS2013, so that e.g. a HTML change from within Chrome would propagate back to changes in the source file from where it was generated.
  • Develop now for Win 8 or Win 8.1, that's the question

    "Windows Store won't be open for Windows 8.1 app publishing until October 18"
    Is it possible to publish Windows 8.0 apps after October 18?

    Indeed it doesn't make sence to write code for production with a beta IDE on a beta OS.