Microsoft to tweak Visual Studio 11 interface with Release Candidate

Microsoft is readying the Release Candidate of Visual Studio 11, which will include some UI modifications made in response to beta testers' feedback.
Written by Mary Jo Foley, Senior Contributing Editor

We know the Windows 8 Release Candidate (now known officially as "Release Preview") is due out the first week of June. One might expect the accompanying Visual Studio 11 Release Candidate to arrive roughly the same time.

Visual Studio officials aren't making -- so far, at least -- any commitments as to timing of the coming near-final test build of the next version of Visual Studio (which is codenamed VS 11, but likely to debut as Visual Studio 2012, I continue to hear).

But on May 8, the Visual Studio team did make an announcement likely to be welcomed by those who weren't keen on what some called the depressing, bland and color-challenged VS11 interface Microsoft delivered with the beta back at the end of February 2012.

There are UI changes coming with the VS 11 RC. And a few select partners are supposedly getting a sneak peek of these tweaks starting this week.

Make no mistake: The UI is still gray. But the gray used in the VS11 light theme and window chrome will now be light gray instead of dark gray. And there will be some color added back into the status bar, windows headers and tabs. Color is being added back to select commands, IntelliSense, and Solution hierarchy icons, as well.

(click on image to enlarge)

The team also is modifying the typography and fonts to some extent, replacing some that were previously all caps -- meant to reflect Microsoft's Metro design and philosophy -- with upper and lower case.

Speaking of Metro, the VS team isn't breaking ranks with the rest of the company, which increasingly is using Metro design across products, services and sites. It simply is dialing back some of the Metro look and feel, which may have gone too far to suit the tastes of some devs.

I'm expecting the VS11 RC to arrive the same day the Windows 8 Developer Preview Release Preview does, which will be some time in the first week of June. It will be interesting to compare the extent to which the Windows client team responded to testers' feedback in the OS changes and modifications it makes to the next (and final) public Windows 8 release before the product RTMs.

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