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Visual Studio 2012 and Windows 8 Available Wednesday

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Microsoft is slated to release Visual Studio 2012 and .NET Framework 4.5 on Wednesday, providing developers with the final tools for building Windows 8 applications. The tooling comes roughly two months prior to October 26, the general availability date of the Windows 8 operating system, according to Microsoft.

The company is altering its standard procedure of first dibs for MSDN subscribers and instead, making the Visual Studio 2012 tooling available to all developers on August 15. MSDN subscribers will, however, gain access to the Windows 8 RTM on Wednesday.

Windows 8, which was released to manufacturing at the beginning of August, will be available so that MSDN developers can build and finalize applications. (That does not include Windows RT, the version of Windows 8 for ARM-based tablets, according to Microsoft.) The company is also planning to release the Windows 8 RTM to TechNet subscribers on Wednesday so that IT professionals can begin testing the new operating system.

On tap for general release tomorrow are the final versions of Visual Studio 2012, .NET Framework 4.5, Visual Studio 2012 Team Foundation Server and the Visual Studio 2012 Software Developer Kit. The free Visual Studio Express 2012 tools for Windows 8 (metro-style apps) and the Web will also be available.

The free Express tools for Windows Desktop (originally dropped from the lineup and added after developers balked) and Windows Phone are expected later this fall, according to Microsoft Corporate Vice President S. Somasegar, who heads the Developer Division.

Visual Studio 2012 supports Office 2013 and Windows Phone 8 development but the tooling for the upcoming Office and the Windows Phone platforms is not part of the August 15th downloads, according to Jason Zander, Microsoft corporate vice president of the Visual Studio team. A preview of the Microsoft Office Developer Tools for Visual Studio 2012 was released last month when the company officially introduced Office 2013 along with the new Cloud App Model for extensibility across client applications and the Web in Office and SharePoint 2013.

Microsoft is also promoting a Visual Studio 2012 Virtual Launch Event that will be streamed live for developers worldwide. Somasegar and Zander are hosting the event. It’s scheduled for September 12; the same day that Apple is rumored to be launching iPhone 5 and other products.

It’s important to note that Visual Studio 2012 requires .NET 4.5, which is an in-place upgrade. Some developers are reporting potential issues with “Targeting .NET 4” and bug fixes in .NET 4.5 that could cause problems in applications that run on Windows XP, for example.

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