Microsoft has made the controls landscape much larger due to the dichotomy of XAML vs. HTML projects. Telerik does not see this as a challenge so much as an opportunity to provide tools to app developers with a potential market of 400 million, thanks to the expected reach of the Windows Store as Windows 8 becomes the incumbent client OS.
On the mobile front, Telerik has worked to provide the missing elements that have in some cases dismayed developers. For example, when Microsoft released the Windows 8 platform, it left out something that has been taken for granted for many years in Visual Studio: a client-side relational data storage component. To address this, Sells mentioned that Telerik’s implementation works for both HTML and XAML apps, and its “in-memory data storage, based on the popular SQLite database, provides storage and access to relational data, which is a critical first step to building offline support into your Windows 8 apps.”
Visual Studio 2013 and beyond
Microsoft is busy producing yet another version of Visual Studio in a version currently called Visual Studio 2013. The assumption is that it will be released before the end of the year, but there does not seem to be any guarantee of that yet, and it would not be the first time that the product name changed due to a slip in shipping date.
Given that this is hot on the heels of Visual Studio 2012, the market is expectant about this new version, but there does not appear to be much demand that it ship sooner. This new version has already shipped in a preview, which gives us a fairly reliable insight into what it will offer.
It appears that the reason for the rush is that, now that Windows Azure has become the real focus for the company in light of Steve Ballmer’s recently revealed reorganization plans, this new version of Visual Studio delivers a number of features and other strategic moves that move that agenda forward. Microsoft has always leveraged its developer tools to push adoption where the company wants, and there are plenty of reasons to believe that this has not changed.
Cloud development just got real
Many people talk about developing in the cloud, but Microsoft is taking it quite literally. In a blog post by Microsoft vice president Scott Guthrie, he announced the release of version 2.1 of the Windows Azure Software Development Kit for .NET. Along with that, he revealed a list of new features. The topper is the revelation that developers can now have a virtual machine hosted on Azure with Visual Studio 2013 to let them develop for the cloud, from the cloud.
Every developer fears having to rebuild their development system after hitting a snag. Or, they have come to grips with this issue by virtualizing their development systems with strategic snapshots designed to restore the system to some well-known, good state. This new feature, if done properly, could eliminate much of the frustration caused by this chore.
Microsoft has added the developer image into the Virtual Machine Gallery, so you can spin up multiple development environments, even one per project, which will be great for consultants. A few months ago, this would have been unthinkable due to the cost, but as Guthrie pointed out on his blog, “With the recent shutdown and suspend billing feature we shipped on Windows Azure…you can spin up the image only when you want to do active development, and then shut down the virtual machine and not have to worry about usage charges while the virtual machine is not in use.” This will help reduce the obstacle to productivity.
For those that prefer to keep their development confined to their own system, you can also leverage the Azure SDK to try out Visual Studio 2013 Preview. As shown below, from the Windows Azure .NET Developer Center, the “Install the SDK” link allows you to install the 2.1 version of the SDK, and will also provide Visual Studio 2013 Preview for Web. The SDK announcement also sets the stage for controls for some cloud services to be built directly into the Visual Studio interface, starting with Visual Studio 2013. Initially that means that developers will be able to start and stop virtual machines directly from within Visual Studio 2013. Now that virtual machines only cost money when they are running, this lowers the chance that a developer will turn on a system, and then forget about it and continue accruing charges unwittingly.