A few days ago, Microsoft released a preview of the ASP.NET Fall 2012 update to Visual Studio 2012. This update adds some really useful new features to MVC and Web API projects (along with some minor updates to Web Forms) that should save .NET developers a lot of time going forward.
SignalR and SignalR Template
Windows Azure Authentication
OData Query Support
Windows Store Support
Auto Help Pages
Single Page Application Template
Facebook Project Template
Mobile Template Updates
ASP.NET Membership System
This is a pretty big update considering that .NET 4.5 just came out a few months ago. It should be noted that you can only install this update on Visual Studio 2012 RTM and Visual Studio Express 2012 for Web, so folks running the release candidate version of 2012 will need to upgrade before they can take advantage of the new features.
The most exciting features to me are the additions of SignalR and the Facebook Project Template. SignalR is a seriously good product that makes real time client-server communication a breeze in .NET. With this update, SignalR becomes part of the .NET framework and is officially supported by Microsoft.
For Facebook, this update not only includes straightforward OAuth for authenticating users using their Facebook accounts but also project templates for Facebook Applications. This makes for extremely fast setup of full featured Facebook Apps using the .NET framework.
Jon Galloway and Scott Hanselman give a really good and entertaining presentation / demo of the new features over at Channel 9 if you’ve got an hour to kill and want to see some cool stuff. If you just want a quick rundown of the new features, head over to the ASP.NET Codeplex page for details on each new feature.
Scott Hanselman expressed his team’s dedication to adding more value to Visual Studio. They are proposing a quarterly release cycle for updates of this magnitude. This is excellent news for the development community, even if it means having to adapt more quickly to stay on top of the latest tools. If you’re interested in taking these new features for a test drive, grab a copy of Visual Studio 2012 Express for web (free) and start building full featured applications faster than you’re probably used to.