No one has had deeper experience with the new features in Visual Studio 2013 than the software providers hosting their products on it. Companies such as ComponentOne, DevExpress, LeanKit and SoftFluent have explored new features like Peek Definition and improvements to Azure and ASP.NET, and along with their customers they’ve got strong opinions on what they like and what needs work.

(Related: Everything you need to know about Visual Studio 2013)

Julian Bucknall, CTO of DevExpress
“VS 2013, although only a year from its predecessor, has provided some great new features. Of note, I would draw attention to these: the much improved Azure support, especially Azure Mobile Services; the better ASP.NET and Web tools; and improved Windows Store app support, including better debugging support (which, to be honest, they really had to do).

“Like it or not, the way apps are being written now involves data in the cloud and some kind of client app on the device, with that client app being HTML/[JavaScript]-based. The enhancements to VS 2013 are going a long way to helping with this kind of scenario: Azure integration is better, ASP.NET has grown to the point you can mix Web Forms and MVC, the JavaScript experience is better (think IntelliSense within the editor and debugging), the added support for several open-source libraries for Web development, and so on.”

David Neal, developer advocate at LeanKit
“One of our favorite new features in Visual Studio is auto brace completion. When you type a ‘(‘, ‘{‘ or ‘[‘, the editor automatically adds the equivalent closing character. It sounds like a little thing, but it is something we’ve come to appreciate in other text editors.

“As developers of an SaaS product, we frequently spend time writing JavaScript. Visual Studio 2013 adds a great highlighting feature to its JavaScript support that enables us to easily see all instances of a variable or function name in the current file. A new Visual Studio 2013 feature we’re using more frequently is ‘Peek Definition.’ This feature allows you to ‘peek’ at the underlying code related to a method or class without leaving the current code you are working on. It’s a great way to get additional context without losing your place or train of thought.

“The first time you use Visual Studio 2013, you are asked to sign in to your Microsoft account. This step is required for premium versions of Visual Studio acquired through an MSDN Subscription. We have heard and read reports from customers and colleagues in the developer community who have had trouble and are frustrated with this new sign-in process.”

Daniel Cohen-Zardi, president and CEO of SoftFluent
“The new Peek Definition command is one of our favorite features. It lets you view and edit class or method definitions without switching away from your code editor. This edition brings several code editor improvements, and Microsoft has been successful in providing an enhanced scroll bar. Now you can set the scroll bar to show various code markers such as breakpoints, errors, warnings and changes. Moreover, it can be set to ‘Bar mode’ and the new ‘map mode,’ which will show you a representation of your source code directly in your scrollbar.

About Rob Marvin

Rob Marvin has covered the software development and technology industry as Online & Social Media Editor at SD Times since July 2013. He is a 2013 graduate of the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University with dual degrees in Magazine Journalism and Psychology. Rob enjoys writing about everything from features, entertainment, news and culture to his current work covering the software development industry. Reach him on Twitter at @rjmarvin1.