Five Reasons To Try Out Visual Studio 11

Visual Studio 11 adds a stack of new and helpful features to Microsoft's flagship development environment. You can download a free trial copy of the beta right now; here are five reasons why you should.

1. You Can Build For Windows 8

Metro-style apps for Windows 8 bring a whole new approach to the desktop, offering a beautiful interface which maximises the experience of each individual app and takes advantage of modern processing power and Windows 8's feature set. Visual Studio 11 offers the easiest path into Windows 8 development via Visual Studio Express for Windows 8.

2. A Radically Simplified Interface

The Visual Studio interface has cut back on the number of default toolbar commands, and only uses colour for notifications and status changes. By de-emphasising the development environment, you can focus on your own application, rather than being distracted by the environment itself. Preview Tabs also let you access debugging information and other documents without needing large numbers of unwanted documents open.

3. Control Over The Whole Software Lifecycle

Visual Studio 11 includes tools for the entire development process, from designing the overall architecture to creating the user interface and testing and deployment. Application lifecycle management via Team Foundation Server allows large teams to collaborate seamlessly across complex projects.

4. Even Better Networking Support

Modern applications increasingly rely on pervasive network connections. The enhanced .NET 4.5 networking libraries fully support WebSockets and the full HTTP standard, ensuring you can make the most of networked environments.

5. Choose The Language Which Works For You

Whether you want to work in JavaScript, C++, C#, Visual Basic, Visual F#, Python or Ruby, Visual Studio can help. Make your choice based on the language that meets your needs, not the restrictions of your development environment.

If you like what you try, there's never been a better time to sign up for MSDN, locking in your full copy of the final version (and a host of other developer resources) for a great price.

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