Visual Studio 2013 Update 2 RC: Windows Phone 8.1 Tools, Shared Projects and Universal Windows Apps

Earlier today we announced the availability of the release candidate of Visual Studio 2013 Update 2.  This update includes support for today's new platform releases of Windows Phone 8.1 and Windows 8.1 Update 1, as well as new features across the entire Visual Studio developer experience, many of which I blogged about recently. 

Visual Studio 2013 Update 2 is one of the most significant updates we've ever done for Visual Studio, and today's RC release enables developers to get started building amazing applications for our new platform releases today.

I have highlighted below some of the major new features of Visual Studio 2013 Update 2, including Windows Phone tools and support for universal Windows app development, the final release of Team Foundation Server 2013 Update 2, and TypeScript 1.0.

Windows App Development

Today, the Windows team announced major updates across Windows and Windows Phone, including new developer platform capabilities in Windows Phone 8.1 and the next major step toward platform unification with universal Windows apps for a common Windows runtime across phones, tablets and PCs.

Developers can get started building apps for Windows and Windows Phone with Visual Studio 2013 Express for Windows Update 2 today. 

Windows Phone

Visual Studio 2013 Update 2 includes all the tools you need for developing apps for Windows Phone 8 and Windows Phone 8.1.

Developers can continue to develop their existing Windows Phone 8 apps which will run on both Windows Phone 8 and 8.1, using the many developer features added in Visual Studio 2013, including improvements to XAML IntelliSense and the new Peek and CodeLens features in the Visual Studio editor. 

To take advantage of new platform capabilities in Windows Phone 8.1, existing Windows Phone 8 apps can be easily upgraded to target Windows Phone 8.1, providing support for all the new developer features in the Windows Phone platform.

Windows Phone 8.1 also enables developers to build applications using the Windows Runtime, using the same APIs as Windows 8.1 applications.  Visual Studio 2013 Update 2 enables developing WinRT-based apps for Windows Phone in C#/XAML, C++/XAML, C++/DirectX and JavaScript/HTML.

The suite of tools in Visual Studio for Windows Store development can all be used during development, debugging and diagnostics for Windows Phone 8.1 projects.  This includes key new diagnostics tools, such as the memory profiler and the combined UI responsiveness, energy consumption and CPU utilization can be used to profile your Windows Phone 8.1 universal apps. 

Universal Windows Apps

With Windows 8.1 and Windows Phone 8.1 apps both building on the same Windows Runtime, developers can create universal Windows apps, sharing a large amount of their code between Windows and Windows Phone.  In Visual Studio, we've introduced a notion of shared projects for C#, C++ and JavaScript, making sharing code and assets between the Windows and Windows Phone heads of the same app as easy as possible.

Developers can create a project with heads for Windows and Windows Phone, or right-click to add a Windows or Windows Phone head to an existing application.


The resulting universal Windows app contains separate projects for the Windows and Windows Phone heads, each using UI elements aligned with the form factor. 

The solution also contains a Shared project which will be compiled into both heads of the application.  This Shared project is designed to maximize your ability to share code and assets between the app heads.  

.NET Native (preview)

Today we also released a preview of the .NET Native technology, which promises to combine the productivity of C# and .NET with the performance characteristics of native code.  .NET Native is a new ahead-of-time compiler which leverages our C++ compilers optimizer to produce native images with improvements to startup time, memory usage and overall application performance.  Today's preview release lets developers try out this new compilation technology for Windows Store application targeting X64 and ARM. 

For existing Windows or Windows Phone developers, Visual Studio 2013 provides the tools to bring your existing assets forward and to benefit from the closer alignment between the platforms.  And for developers new to developing for the Windows Store, there's never been a better time to develop for the platform.

Team Foundation Server 2013 Update 2 RTW

Also being released today is the final release of Team Foundation Server 2013 Update 2.  This update provides dozens of new features in TFS, including improvements to Git support, backlog management in TFS Web Access, support for tags throughout Visual Studio and improvements in lightweight charting.

One nice feature provided by TFS2013 Update 2 + VS2013 Update 2 is Incoming Changes Indicator added to Code Lens feature.  Code Lens provides information about a declaration in C# or VB source code directly at the point of attention, based on local information as well as source control data.  In Visual Studio 2013, this included references, most recent person to edit, work items and bugs related to the source code, and more. One very useful addition in Visual Studio 2013 Update 2 is the inclusion of a new "Incoming Changes" indicator.  This indicator highlights changes that are in upstream branches of your source control which will likely be merged into this code in the future, enabling you to reason not just about the code as it currently is, but about what it might look like in the future and who is working on it in which branches.

TypeScript 1.0

Also announced today was the final 1.0 release of TypeScript.  This is a major milestone for the TypeScript language, providing a foundation for robust application-scale JavaScript development. 

Tools for TypeScript 1.0 RTM are included in Visual Studio 2013 Update 2 RC.  TypeScript has been an open source project on CodePlex for the last 18 months, and is today taking the next step in opening up for contributions.

We also provide TypeScript 1.0 as an NPM package for cross-platform development, and as an add-in to Visual Studio 2012.

And so much more…

Beyond these big items, Visual Studio 2013 Update 2 includes tons of additional features.  Here's a selection of some of the top ones.

  • ASP.NET and Web Tools, including latest ASP.NET platform support, SCSS, LESS, JSON editor, and more.
  • Diagnostics Tools, including additions to IntelliTrace performance events and improved .NET memory analysis.
  • Azure Tools, including PowerShell editor and default support for auto-creating Azure resources for development/test along with new ASP.NET projects.
  • Release Management, including extending tagging to release templates and server environment configuration
  • Testing Tools, including new Coded UI Testing support for Windows Phone apps, and the ability to export test artifacts from TFS Web Access


Visual Studio 2013 Update 2 is one of the most significant updates we've released for Visual Studio, and today's availability of the go-live release candidate enables developers to start using the new Visual Studio and Team Foundation Server capabilities, as well as to develop and deploy apps for the latest Microsoft platforms including Windows Phone 8.1, Windows 8.1 Update 1.