What to Expect in Visual Studio 2013 and .NET Framework 4.5.1


It seems like only yesterday that Visual Studio 2012 was released, well, in fact it was not so long ago. Visual Studio 2013 Preview and .NET Framework 4.5.1 are now available for download. I believe many a modern developers will be excited to hear this, but many an older developer may not relish the awesomeness that is Visual Studio 2013. Many developers are still trying to adapt and learn the new features of Visual Studio 2012, which was actually the developer platform that was downloaded the most and quickest – 4 million visual Studio 2012 products have been downloaded thus far. That is massive!

On the other hand, as I’ve mentioned earlier, many older developers are not too happy with Visual Studio 2013’s announcement. This is because they haven’t yet fully mastered Visual Studio 2012 and even Windows 8. This is causing a major development and technological gap. If you were to take Africa for instance; the internet is slow, economy and computer illiteracy are major contributing factors to this. Because of the highly priced slow internet, companies tend to shy away from upgrading their technology.

The cloud is another problem in Africa. There are companies that opt for cloud storage, but because of the slow internet (again) and the bad economy, it hasn’t been picked up as it has in America and Europe.

Here I go, talking about economy and high priced internet, instead of Visual Studio 2013. Now, let’s have a look at what to expect from Visual Studio 2013.

Visual Studio 2013 Debugging Tool Advancements

Async-aware Debugging

With Visual Studio 2013 it is now easier to debug async-aware programs. With earlier versions of Visual Studio the Call Stack window handled all the different calls in your program while debugging. Unfortunately, it was not sufficient enough to do full async debugging; now with the changes made to the Call Stack window we will be able to properly identify which method gets called when and from where each method originates. Visual Studio 2013 replaces the Parallel Tasks window with the Tasks window. The Tasks window displays tasks that relate to a given breakpoint, as well as any other tasks that are currently active or scheduled within the application. For more information on Async-aware debugging, have a look here.

x64 Edit and Continue ( x64 EnC )

Staying on the debugging features. x64 Edit and Continue has now been implemented in Visual Studio 2013. This means that you can edit your 64 bit application’s code while debugging. The lack of this functionality has surprised me in Visual Studio 2010 already. For more information on x64 EnC, have a look here.

Autos Window

As we all know, the Autos window displays variables used in the current statement and the previous statement. The problem again arose when we had to return async values. Due to how the Autos window worked in earlier versions of Visual Studio, we couldn’t exactly determine what the returned value would be. This has changed with Visual Studio 2013. For more information on the Autos Window, Immediate window and Watch window, have a look here.

Visual Studio 2013 Language Advancements

Sadly, there was little done for main frame languages. The only languages I am aware of that have changed a bit is XAML, JavaScript and HTML.


Not really a change inside the language, apart from performance, but more support during development is now offered. Editor experiences such as IntelliSense for data binding and resources, “Go To Definition” support for navigating styles, and code snippets have been improved. Design experience in Blend now sports guides. New Windows 8.1 XAML controls like AppBar, Hub, and Flyout have been introduced; and the XAML UI Responsiveness tool has been introduced. This tool allows us to track the responsiveness of our XAML controls. This comes in handy to determine where and when your app freezes or is a bit slow to respond. For more information on the XAML UI Responsiveness tool, have a look here.

JavaScript and HTML

The code editor supports identifier highlighting and includes a navigation bar, which makes it easier to navigate the source code. This is probably my favourite change thus far!  IntelliSense includes notes about deprecated APIs and “Go to Definition” supports navigating namespaces. The DOM ( Document Object Model ) supports inline styles, direct editing, search and most importantly IntelliSense! The JavaScript Console also now supports IntelliSense as well as object preview and multiline support.

New Tools in Visual Studio 2013


With CodeLens (Code Information Indicators) you can find code-related information faster and easier. CodeLens works like a heads-up display in the code editor. With CodeLens you can:

  • Find changes specific to code
  • Find dependencies on specific code
  • Find and run unit tests for specific code

For more information on CodeLens, have a look here.

Performance and Diagnostics Hub

These tools include as quoted from MSDN:

  •  JavaScript Memory. First introduced in Visual Studio 2012 Update 1, this tool helps you understand memory usage and find memory leaks in JavaScript Windows Store apps.
  •  HTML UI Responsiveness. First introduced in Visual Studio 2012 Update 2, this tool helps you isolate UI responsiveness problems in JavaScript Windows Store apps by providing rich visualizations of work being done on the UI thread.
  •  XAML UI Responsiveness. New in Visual Studio 2013, this tool helps you understand UI responsiveness problems in C#/XAML and C++/XAML Windows Store apps by providing rich visualizations of work being done on the UI thread.
  •  Energy Consumption. New in Visual Studio 2013, this tool enables you to estimate your app’s energy consumption without the need for any specialized hardware.

For more information on the Performance and Diagnostics hub, have a look here.


Obviously, this is just a small taste of what to expect of Visual Studio 2013. As more information becomes avaialable, we will learn more. Go ahead, download the preview and start enjoying Visual Studio 2013. Until next time, cheers!

Hannes DuPreez
Hannes DuPreez
Ockert J. du Preez is a passionate coder and always willing to learn. He has written hundreds of developer articles over the years detailing his programming quests and adventures. He has written the following books: Visual Studio 2019 In-Depth (BpB Publications) JavaScript for Gurus (BpB Publications) He was the Technical Editor for Professional C++, 5th Edition (Wiley) He was a Microsoft Most Valuable Professional for .NET (2008–2017).

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