It seems almost silly to lead a story about the next version of Visual Studio with the fact that it might have dropped the ALL CAPS menu items, but it is an indication that the team is trying to fix VS and turn it into the IDE we all loved.
As the Visual Studio blog says:
ALL CAPS. Last week with the RC for Visual Studio 2013 Update 3 we added an option to sentence case menus; in this VS “14” CTP we changed Menu Bar styling to Title Case for everyone to help us get feedback on the change. We’ll use the feedback we get to help determine if we keep it as it is in this preview, make it an option under the Tools/Options menu, or take some other path
You only have to read some of the comments following the announcement to realize how important a change this is. So, if you want to see a return to menu items that are more readable, make sure to tell Microsoft that you like the change. No, you aren't going to get back the old non-flat UI and there still isn't much color in the interface, but it is easy to pick one of three possible color styles - Dark, Blue or Light.
It is also worth noting that the CPT only runs on Windows 8.1 and it is advisable not to install it with any other version of Visual Studio.
What else is new?
Most are minor additional features:
Save and Apply Custom IDE Layouts. You can now save and apply custom layouts for tool windows in the IDE.
Light Bulb Editor Adornment. Light Bulbs are an extensible feature that identifies and helps fix issues in code. When you hover over or place the cursor into code that has a problem a light bulb pops up with a list of actions you can take to resolve the problem. This is similar to facilities in other IDEs such as Android Studio.
Editor Touch Support. The Visual Studio Editor now supports touch gestures for scrolling, pinch-to-zoom, tap-and-hold for context menus, double-tap for word selection, and line selection by tapping in the margin.
VC++ Property Pages and Editor Enhancements. We updated the Configuration and Platform dropdown values for VC++ Property Page dialog to remember the last user selection when the dialog is closed and more/
Another interesting feature that almost went unnoticed is the way C++ development for Windows 8 is being handled.As the new C++ compiler only supports development of Store Apps for Windows 8.1, if you want to support Windows 8.0 you have to download and install Visual Studio 2013 to make use of the old tools. Once you have installed them you can make use of them from VS 14.
There are also some strange restrictions on the CTP. It can't create new Windows Store 8.1 or Phone 9.1 apps, but it can open existing projects - unless they are Windows Phone Silverlight 8.1 projects. This seems to be just a glitch that will be sorted out in later versions, but it still could be the end of the line for Silverlight 8.1 projects - we will just have to wait and see. It could also be that Windows 8.2 is about to appear. Desktop apps use the new toolset and are not affected.
The bottom line seems to be, avoid using the CTP if you are working with C++, Windows 8.0 or 8.1 Store or Phone apps, and you can't use it if you want to use Windows 7.
I also have to add that in getting the CTP started I had to log into my Microsoft user account more times than was reasonable - perhaps it was just me.
Of course, the new CTP builds on the previous CTP and the biggest changes are the use of the Roslyn compiler. However, the biggest visible change is the availablity of the new ASP.NET vNext project types. You can now create ASP.NET apps that run without a web server - whatever will they think of next.
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