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.

“SoftFluent’s customers built their applications using CodeFluent Entities and its Microsoft Visual Studio integrated graphical editor. We have had consistent positive feedback about this edition, and we think that these new features address developers’ need and really help them to improve productivity. As always, some customers are slower to upgrade depending on their corporate policies, and though our product works great with former versions of Visual Studio, we encourage developers to move to the latest version to benefit from these new features.”

Greg Lutz, product manager at ComponentOne
“As a third-party control vendor, when Microsoft released Visual Studio 2013, we [simultaneously] shipped our products with it to take advantage of the enhancements. One example is our XAML product offering. Specifically, closing tags that automatically change to reflect the opening tag, the ‘Go to definition’ feature, as well as the ability to edit control templates, make XAML development a little easier.
“Microsoft also added new Project Templates in Visual Studio 2013 that use a theming framework called Bootstrap. We have enhanced our support for developers working in Visual Studio 2013 by officially supporting Bootstrap in Studio Enterprise 2013 v3. By designing our controls to integrate seamlessly with Bootstrap, Visual Studio 2013 clients have a vast amount of tools available for building their Web applications.

“The improvements our customers notice most in Visual Studio 2013 are to the code editors. Aside from the style of the shell changing, this release has probably the most visual new enhancements to the code editors in a long time. A new visual feature for tracking your references in code is CodeLens. It allows you to view all of the references to a class or variable and quickly navigate to them. The enhanced visual features in the new scroll bar have been remarked on as being very useful when you are working with a larger code file.”#!AccuRev: The AccuRev application life-cycle solution allows software teams to deliver higher-quality software with more functionality faster so they can stay competitive and keep pace with customer demands. Its unique, stream-based architecture provides all the functionality of an enterprise version control system plus change-based traceability and workflow and process modeling. More than 400 of the world’s most popular brands use AccuRev.

Aspose: Aspose.Total for .NET includes every .NET component Aspose offers. Using Aspose.Total for .NET, developers can build applications that take advantage of popular business formats such as Microsoft Word documents, Excel spreadsheets, PowerPoint presentations, Visio diagrams, Project files, and Adobe PDF documents. It also includes OCR, barcode and image manipulation tools. More than 13,000 customers in 104 countries use Aspose products, including 69 of the Fortune 100.

ComponentArt: ComponentArt UI Framework for .NET 2012 provides a rich set of user interface components for developing ASP.NET AJAX, ASP.NET MVC, Silverlight and WPF applications. It enables code reuse between ASP.NET and Silverlight applications as well as Silverlight and WPF applications. More than 10,000 organizations worldwide use ComponentArt’s UI and Data Visualization developer tools.

ComponentOne, a division of Grape City: ComponentOne Studio Enterprise is a complete set of data and UI controls for HTML5, Windows Store, WPF, Silverlight, ASP.NET, MVC, Windows Forms and ActiveX. The latest v3 release includes theming in WinForms and ASP.NET Wijmo, new ASP.NET Wijmo mobile controls, Visual Studio 2013 support, Visual Studio 2013-compatible Bootstrap support, Windows 8.1 support, and many other enhancements.

DevExpress: DevExpress Universal includes every .NET product DevExpress offers. Using DevExpress Universal 13.2, developers can build elegant, fast, touch-enabled solutions for Windows Forms, WPF, ASP.NET, HTML5 and Windows 8 platforms using their existing skill sets and technology investments. The latest release includes enterprise-ready capabilities designed to help software developers build next-generation experiences ranging from Office-inspired desktop and Web applications to touch-enabled mobile solutions targeting iOS, Android, Windows Phone and Surface Pro.

Dundas: Dundas Dashboard is a Web-based platform for rapidly developing custom, interactive dashboards. It acts as a central BI portal allowing users to visualize and analyze data from across the organization. Dundas Dashboard 5.0 supports Big Data sources and includes several enhancements, including advanced usage tracking, an interactive HTML5 mobile interface, and support for Map/Reduce technologies.

Infragistics: Infragistics Ultimate makes it easy to build great-looking, high-performance Windows, Web and mobile apps. The suite includes comprehensive tools for Windows Forms, WPF, Windows 8, ASP.NET, HTML5 and jQuery. The latest 2013.2 release adds support for Visual Studio 2013 and iOS 7, touch and gesture capabilities across all platforms, and Indigo Studio, a complete solution for designing interactive prototypes. It also includes tools for building cross-platform applications that look native on any mobile device, as well as desktop and platform-specific controls for iOS, Android, and Windows Phone.

JNBridge: JNBridge Pro is an interoperability tool that connects anything Java to anything .NET, in the same process, across a network and in the cloud. The latest version, JNBridgePro 7.1, allows developers to access Java code from Visual Studio 2013. It also provides the ability to specify 32-bit and 64-bit jvm.dll in .NET to Java application configuration files to support shared memory communications in “Any CPU”-configured applications. More than 500 customers in 40 countries use JNBridgePro.#!LEAD Technologies: LEADTOOLS toolkits help developers integrate raster, document, medical, multimedia and vector imaging into their desktop, server, tablet and mobile applications. LEADTOOLS Version 18 includes cross-platform libraries for HTML5, Windows, WinRT, iOS, OS X, Android and Linux. The most recent update includes additional enhancements, such as rebuilt and recertified WinRT libraries for Windows 8.1, so Windows Store apps built with LEADTOOLS can stay current.

LeanKit: LeanKit allows users to map their organization’s processes using virtual Kanban boards. Cards representing work items can be color-coded and enhanced with icons for at-a-glance views of work item types, their owners, priorities, due dates, relative sizes, and problems. As the status of work items changes, the cards can be updated and moved across the board. Leaders can use LeanKit to improve the accuracy of forecasting, workload allocation and work processes. Team members can take advantage of the e-mail alert and RSS feed options to speed up issue resolution.

Parasoft: dotTEST improves team productivity and software quality by automating static analysis, code review and unit-testing best practices. Using dotTEST, more errors can be prevented, exposed, and corrected faster to ensure that .NET code works as expected and that compliance, project, and organizational requirements are being met. It identifies runtime errors without requiring the software to be executed, enabling early and effortless detection of critical runtime errors. And, with the Code Review module, teams can establish a solid review process to ensure that all new code is reviewed and that all identified issues are resolved.

RSSBus: RSSBus ADO.NET Data Providers give developers a fast, easy and powerful way to connect .NET applications to Google, QuickBooks,, Twitter, Facebook, SAP, QuickBooks, Amazon SimpleDB and more using standard Visual Studio wizards. Developers who want to build custom drivers for other databases, applications and Web APIs can use the ADO.NET Provider Core. It includes several full-source pre-built extensions that can be accessed through ADO.NET, including Bing Search, Google Maps, Highrise CRM, LinkedIn, Twitter, and the U.S. Congress.

SoftFluent: CodeFluent Entities integrates into Visual Studio, allowing developers to generate components including scripts, code, Web services and UIs. It includes more than 20 code generators that can be combined to suit the desired architecture and technologies of choice. CodeFluent Entitles includes database code generators that translate a model into a complete database, a domain model code generator that translates a model into an actual .NET object model, and back-office code generators that generate fully functional UIs and entire Web APIs.

Software FX: Chart FX’s data visualization technology has powered thousands of desktop and server-based applications for the last two decades. The new Chart FX 8 includes advanced data analysis capabilities, support for the latest computing platforms and technologies, gauge components, and a new UI. It is compatible with Visual Studio 2010, 2012 and 2013, and it is aimed at developers building .NET, Java and HTML5 applications. With Chart FX 8, developers can create great-looking, high-performance applications that deliver the flexibility today’s users expect.

Syncfusion: Essential Studio Enterprise Edition is an enterprise-class toolkit that includes more than 500 unique controls for ASP.NET, ASP.NET MVC, JavaScript, Mobile MVC, Silverlight, Windows Forms, Windows Phone, WinRT, and WPF platforms. The new version is compatible with Visual Studio 2013 and Windows 8.1, and it includes more LightSwitch extensions and Word, Excel and PDF libraries for Windows Phone. It also marks the official release of Essential Studio for JavaScript, including 10 new controls. Developers can also take advantage of many platform-specific enhancements.

Telerik: The Telerik Platform is a modular platform that combines a rich set of UI tools and powerful cloud services for developing Web, hybrid and native apps. It supports the entire app life cycle from idea to deployment, enabling collaborative prototyping, design and development. It also automates cross-platform testing, streamlines app publishing, simplifies cross-platform mobile app management, and provides comprehensive metrics for understanding user and app behavior.

TextControl: TX TextControl components allow developers to add comprehensive word-processing and reporting capabilities to their applications. Options include client-side components for rich text editing, spell-checking and barcodes; spreadsheet controls; server-side word-processing controls; and Flow Type Layout Reporting controls. Supported platforms include Windows Forms, WPF, ActiveX and ASP.NET.

Xamarin: Xamarin for Visual Studio provides a single solution for building Windows, iOS and Android apps in C# from within Visual Studio. Developers can use familiar tools, .NET libraries and design patterns as well as incorporate platform-specific libraries and frameworks. Apps can be built, deployed and debugged on a simulator or a device. Xamarin is used by 20,000 customers and more than 505,000 developers.