Announcing Visual Studio 2015 Preview and Visual Studio 2013 Update 4 Availability

Charles Sterling

Last couple of weeks have been pretty crazy; in addition to the launching the new browser based Load Test Authoring experience at TechEd Europe, hosting the MVP summit, getting Update 4 released we have been working on getting Visual Studio 2015 Preview ready for you.   If you want a sneak of Visual Studio 2015 Preview in action be sure and watch Scott Guthrie and Soma announce the new releases at the Connect(); event online and watch over 55 on-demand sessions from my fellow coworkers in DevDiv and Azure (  If you are like me and just want to get started here are the downloads links:

· Download Visual Studio 2013 Update 4

· Download Visual Studio 2015 Preview

Of course,  the fastest and by far the easiest way to get started with Visual Studio 2015 Preview is using the Azure Virtual machine image that was also released today. In addition to Visual Studio we also released a Visual Studio Community 2013 image.  Both of images are available to all Azure customers. If you are a MSDN subscriber you can also take advantages of the Visual Studio 2013 images based on Windows 8.1 and Windows Server 2012  which have been updated to Visual Studio Update 4 and Azure SDK 2.5. You can find out more about using these images here.

·Learn more with the Visual Studio 2013 Update 4 Release Notes, Visual Studio Community 2013 with Update 4 Release Notes and Visual Studio 2015 Preview Release Notes

· To get a more holistic of view of the release make sure and check out these other blog posts:


Top ALM Features in Visual Studio 2015 preview and Visual Studio 2103 Update 4:

  1. Emulator for Android in Visual Studio 2015 Preview
  2. Debugging C++ code on Android with Visual Studio 2015 Preview
  3. Memory Debugging (managed & native) with Visual Studio 2015 Preview
  4. Support for debugging lambda expressions with Visual Studio 2015  Preview
  5. Developer can filter link types on Code Map with Visual Studio Update 4
  6. Code Lens for Git “Team Activity View” with Visual Studio 2015 Preview
  7. CodeLens in Visual Studio Online with Visual Studio Update 4
  8. DevOps style deployment templates with Visual Studio 2015  Preview
  9. Smart Unit Tests with Visual Studio 2015 Preview
  10. Browser based Test Case Management with Visual Studio Online and Visual Studio Update 4.
  11. Performance Metrics Explorer in Application Insights with Visual Studio Update 4
  12. Release Management now supports Visual Studio Online with Visual Studio Update 4
  13. Browser based authoring for Cloud-based Load Testing with Visual Studio Online

Visual Studio 2105 Emulator for Android



Microsoft Visual Studio 2015 Preview this week now gives you new and exciting options for Android development. When choosing one of those Android development options, Visual Studio will also install the brand new Visual Studio Emulator for Android to use as a target for debugging your app.  Be sure and check out Daniel’s great drill down post:


Support for debugging lambda expressions with Visual Studio 2015


The debugger team has definitely heard your feedback that you want debugging support for LINQ (or lambdas in general) with Visual Studio 2015 preview we are pleased to announce that the debugger now supports evaluation of lambda expressions!


Debugging C++ code on Android with Visual Studio 2015


By now you will have heard the exciting news that Visual Studio 2015 supports C++ development on Android (and that includes an Emulator for Android).

Obviously no development experience is complete without debugging support, so this means that Visual Studio 2015 supports debugging C++ code running on Android.

Be sure and check out Andrew’s post on this topic:


Code Lens for Git “Team Activity View”



In Visual Studio 2015 preview we have replaced the popup triggered from the authors indicator by a new popup named the Team Activity View. This view presents the same information, but in a more graphical way and therefore it makes it easier to discover patterns in the commits, which are not obvious on the list.  Be sure to check out Jean-Marc Prieur’s blog post for more information and Stuart rocking video:


Before any link type filtering applied


Now showing only inheritance and implements links Filtering


Code Map has several enhancements such as link filtering shown here, drag and drop from object browser and class view, the ability to create a new diagram from selected nodes and the ability to create a blank code map from the Architecture menu and several performance improvements.   Be sure and check back in the next couple of days for a drill down into this exciting visualizer.  Until then you can wet your appetite with Jean-Marc’s blog post Filter link types on Code Map and Stuart’s Connect video:


If you haven’t checked out the architecture tools in a while you are missing out:

DevOps style deployments using Visual Studio 2015 Preview and Azure


Visual Studio 2015 Preview and Azure SDK 2.5 can now decrease your release cycle times and time to response by helping you deploy your applications to an environment faster and easier than ever. This environment can then be shared across your team in Visual Studio Online.  Be sure and check out Brian Keller’s killer video showing these new features off.

and the walk through post here:


Using Smart Unit Tests To Find Bugs Earlier In The Development Cycle


“Smart Unit Tests” is a feature that assists you in finding bugs early, and reducing test maintenance costs. Using white-box code analysis and constraint solving Smart Unit Tests generates a suite of tests for every possible code path in your .NET code.  Smart Unit Tests will also automatically evolve the test suite as your code under test evolves. Saving you both time and driving higher quality.  Be sure and check my video playing with this exciting new technology!


Release Management Service supports Visual Studio Online

Very exciting news! Release Management Update 4 client can connect to either on-premises Release Management server or to Release Management Service in Visual Studio Online. Now you can setup a release pipeline from check-in through to deployment without having to install and maintain an on-premises Release Management server. Release Management for Visual Studio Online service is in preview!

All you have to do is connect Release Management client to your Visual Studio Online account –just that easy!


For more information please see:

Web Based Test Case Management


The TCM team has been on fire last couple of sprints: Suites and Plans as work items, several new ways of reporting, charting, shared parameters, better Excel Integration through their grid view etc etc.

If you haven’t played with the Test Case management features in Visual Studio Online/Team Foundation Server do yourself a favor and take a look.

Visual Studio Load Testing

Yes i am partial to load testing since i work on that team…but we have done a bunch of really cool stuff for Visual Studio 2013 Update 4:

  • Rest API Now available for Load Testing
  • Cloud-based Load Testing new Available from Europe
  • New Web Based authoring Experience To see all of these features in action check out my video:


    Visual Studio 2013 Update 4 New ALM Features

    While i called out some of my favorite ALM features above in both Visual Studio 2015 Preview and Visual Studio Update 4- that is only a small fraction of the new features.

    Release Management

    • Use the Release Management service in Visual Studio Online
    • Use tags when you deploy to an environment
    • Access to system variables for your deployment sequences or scripts
    • Reduce the need for configuration files to deploy your builds
    • Manual intervention for a release path
    • Build drops stored on TFS servers
    • Deploy from a build drop using a shared UNC path
    • Mix and match Azure and standard environments
    • Select servers and components from the drop-down list in the action for all types of release templates.
    • Give actions friendly names to make it easier to identify them.

    For a more in-depth view of the features please see:

    Team Foundation Server

    • You can create trend charts and aggregate data from work item queries. When a new work item chart is created, you can see three new chart types: Stacked Area, Area, and Line.
    • You can move items in the backlog to the top position (Move to Top) or to any position you want to determine (Move to Position).
    • You can enter the “full-screen mode” for all the pages in the Backlogs hub.
    • You can search for an Area path in Web Access.
    • You can use Pull Requests to help review and merge your code in Git repositories.
    • Web Access can return directly to query results from a detailed view of the query by using a toolbar command, or the keyboard shortcut ALT **+ **Q.
    • Web Access can generate an email directly from the work item view by using a new toolbar command.
    • Web Access has an option to view query results full-screen.
    • With the free Stakeholder License, Stakeholders can view the backlog, edit items, run work item queries, and many other operations.
    • Agile teams can have up to 999 work items in the first or last column of the Kanban board.
    • Web Access now has the option to open a work item in a new window or tab.
    • You can maximize rich text fields for quick readability.
    • Query results can now be copied as HTML for a better copy/paste experience.
    • In work item tracking HTML fields, you can now use **Ctrl **+ **Click **to open a hyperlink URL in a new window.
    • You can configure backlogs to include or exclude bugs.
    • Product backlog items can now be assigned to iterations even in hierarchical views such as Features to Stories and Stories to Tasks.
    • When you are linking work items, you can find the target work items by running an existing query or based on text in the title.


    • The size of CodeLens data that is stored in a Team Foundation Server database was reduced by removing duplicated information and reformatting.
    • Only changes in the last 12 months are used to calculate CodeLens Team Indicators. You can change this duration by using TFSConfig CodeIndex /indexHistoryPeriod command.
    • You can see the period for which CodeLens data is shown on the tooltip and in the details. You can also view the full file history from CodeLens details. Therefore, you will use less network resources for CodeLens because the data is now compressed.
    • When CodeLens temporary data size increases beyond a certain limit in your Team Foundation Server database, processing of past changes will be paused. Processing will restart automatically after temporary data is cleaned up. You can configure this size limit by using TFSConfig CodeIndex /temporaryDataSizeLimit command.

    Test Case Management Tools

    • Associated Test Suites pane shows all test suites that contain a given test case. The list of test suites is scoped for all test plans across all team projects.
    • **Recent Test Results **pane shows the recent test results associated with a test case for all configurations, test suites, and test plans.
    • You can create snapshot or trend charts with test case fields to track test authoring activity. You can create snapshot charts with test results fields to track test execution activity.
    • You can view and filter tests by tags in the Test Hub and bulk edit tags of test case in the gird view.

    Application Insights

    • Visual Studio 2013 Update 4 includes performance improvements and software updates for the Application Insights Tools for Visual Studio. This update is fully compatible with projects that had Application Insights added in the Visual Studio 2013 Update 3, and includes the following updates:

    Be sure and check out the Application Insights video


Of course we would love to hear from you!  In addition UserVoice, Connect and the new improved Send-a-Smile in the Visual Studio 2015 Preview adds the ability to send us bugs via a new dialog “Send-a-Frown”.




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