With an eye toward giving developers the tools they need to take advantage of the technology driving mobile device and data explosions, Microsoft today launched Visual Studio 2012, the latest version of its venerable integrated development environment.

Even as that product was unveiled, with the .NET 4.5 Framework and an update to Team Foundation Server that introduces an Express version and a hosted version, Microsoft also said that update 1 will ship before the end of the year.

Visual Studio 2012 takes support for agile practices front and center, with first-class support for Scrum and other methodologies, as well as Capability Maturity Model Integration, according to Jason Zander, corporate vice president for Visual Studio at Microsoft. It also includes a PowerPoint-based storyboarding feature for agile teams.

Productivity enhancements include form-factor optimizations, such as touch, font and transition options, as well as integration with the Windows Store, so developers can publish their applications, Zander said.

Soma Somasegar, corporate vice president of Microsoft’s Developer Division, pointed out the ambitious platform releases the company has made this year (Windows Azure, Windows 8, Windows Phone 8 and Windows Server) and said with Visual Studio 2012, Microsoft wanted to give developers tools to build modern applications that leverage these platforms and enable continuous service to connected devices. “From the modern application development approach and the modern life cycle, Visual Studio 2012 is designed to help developers work collaboratively in an agile way,” he said.

As part of that, Somasegar said Microsoft would get onto a regular cadence of delivering updated tools to developers, and that update 1 is a part of that effort. A Community Technology Preview of the update will be released later this month, he added.

In that update will come ALM tools for SharePoint developers, most notably adding load testing and Coded UI automated test capabilities; a new set of test tools for what Microsoft is calling “continuous quality”; and original tools for HTML5 and JavaScript development as they relate to Windows application development.

“We’re working closely with the Office 365 and SharePoint teams to ensure the [developer] tools will enable you to target their latest and greatest platform technologies,” Somasegar said ahead of the launch.

About David Rubinstein

David Rubinstein is editor-in-chief of SD Times.