Quick Review: Microsoft Visual Studio 11

vs 11 beta logo

Ever since its development information unveiled to the public, Visual Studio 11 has received lots of concerns and discussions from software developers. The latest beta version was released in early this month. Download

So finally I had the chance to open Visual Studio 11 Beta after hours of waiting and setting up Windows 8 virtual environment. The first thing I must say is that, the Metro UI is revolutionary, neat and of great simplicity. Comparing to the popular Mac OS X UI, Windows has at last found its own style.

  1. Trouble-free Installation
  2. Developer-friendly UI
  3. IDE Enhancements
  4. Connect to Team Foundation Server
  5. Other Improvements
  6. Installation Requirements

1. Trouble-free Installation

The installation is unbelievably trouble-free! It took me about only 5 minutes to walk through the process. Double-click, install then finish. If installed on Windows 8, the VS 11 will put several tiles on the Metro screen. A system restart is required after the installation to update all added components.

VS 11 Beta install

2. Developer-friendly UI

One prominent improvement of VS 11 is its Metro style UI. The redesigned toolbar reduced working space usage as much as 30%, which largely benefits the developers, saving them maximum free room to check and edit code. The search function is also strengthened a lot, which allows developers to focus on task, rather than wasting time browsing through solutions, files, lines of code or menus. The components that provide search function: solution manager, extension manager, quick search function, test management function, error list, toolbox, TFS team project, Visual Studio quick commands, and etc.

VS 11 Beta toolbar quick search 06

3. IDE Enhancements

Whatever language you’re writing in, you can find high-efficient tools that can powerfully drive your development process. One of the main goals of VS 11 is to help developers build Metro style apps for Windows 8. You can start off with find and install Metro style app development extensions with Extension Manager.

VS 11 Beta extension manager 07

4. Connect to Team Foundation Server

Another notable improvement is that, the seamless integration of VS 11 and TFS 11 provides software development team a powerful collaboration platform at the core of Microsoft’s application lifecycle management solution. Beyond that, TFS hosting service can further help teams to utilize this new platform. Connect to Dynamsoft TFS Hosting Service to maximize the benefit of Visual Studio 11 and Team Foundation Server.

VS 11 Beta Connect to TFS 04

5. Other Improvements

  • Multi-touch technology
  • Project compatibility – VS 11 is compatible with VS 2010, .Net 5.4 framework is also backward compatible.
  • Other additional tools – Expression Blend, Code analysis tool and etc.
  • Multiple-monitor support
  • Performance enhancements – parallel build supports all languages, better UI response and lower memory usage during compiling.

6. Installation Requirements

Supported Operating Systems

  • Windows 7 (x86 and x64)
  • Windows 8 Consumer Preview (x86 and x64)
  • Windows Server 2008 R2 (x64)
  • Windows Server 8 Beta (x64)

Supported Architectures

  • 32-bit (x86)
  • 64-bit (x64)

Hardware Requirements

  • 1.6 GHz or faster processor
  • 1 GB of RAM (1.5 GB if running on a virtual machine)
  • 10 GB of available hard disk space
  • 5400 RPM hard drive
  • DirectX 9-capable video card running at 1024 x 768 or higher display resolution

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