Visual Studio 2013

I downloaded Visual Studio 2013 (Express for Web) yesterday and began to play around with it. I had watched a small portion of the keynote at the launch so I knew of several of the features.But I had not downloaded any release candidates so this was my first peek.

At first glance, visually it appears very similar to VS 2012 with some tweaks to color and design. However, that’s not the most interesting part. VS 2013 has an online component (cloud, to use the current buzzword). You can sign into your Microsoft account directly from within VS. You can create a custom URL for your VS Online site such as VS Online is also supposed to sync your VS settings from machine to machine, although I’ve not tried that yet. That’s a nice touch if you sometimes write code on more that one machine like I do.

From this site, you can completely manage your projects. They give you several project management templates such as Scrum, Microsoft Agile and Microsoft processes for CMMI. Once the project is created, you can create sprints, tasks, record bugs, test cases, etc. You can have up to five collaborators/team members accessing your project for free. If you have an eligible MSDN subscription you can create team rooms for chatting.

VS Online also will host your source control. You can use Microsoft’s Team Foundation Version Control or you can use Git. So far, the Git option reminds me of Bitbucket’s service. You have a local repository and then you add the VS Online as a remote repo. Then you can simply push changes up to VS Online.

If you are a fan of continuous integration (in my opinion you should be), VS Online brings this option to the table as well. You can configure a build process based upon manual triggers or check ins. You can create test plans for each of your sprints in VS Online.

So far I think VS Online looks very nice, easy to use and convenient. If your project is already set up on GitHub or BitBucket, I suspect you’ll probably end up leaving the code there. But for new projects, it sounds very interesting. I like the built in project management features as well. I plan to giving VS Online further exercise this week so as I learn more or have additional reactions, I’ll post them here.

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