So you will have probably heard that Visual Studio 2012 has been released to manufacturing earlier this month. With that announcement I thought I’d write up a quick post highlighting some of the new features in Visual Studio 2012 that I like.

1) Opening solution files between Visual Studio 2012 & Visual Studio 2010 without conversion

If you have a Visual Studio Solution file that was created in Visual Studio 2010 you can open and modify the same solution in Visual Studio 2012 without having to upgrade your projects which means you can go back and forward between the two versions as shown below.

– Create a solution in Visual Studio 2010

Visual Studio 2010

Visual Studio 2010

– Open solution in Visual Studio 2012

Visual Studio 2012

As you can see below, the solution opens just fine with no changes made to it

Visual Studio 2012

– Update the solution in Visual Studio 2012

Visual Studio 2012

– Open the solution again in Visual Studio 2010

Even though the solution was updated in Visual Studio 2012 it can still be opened again in Visual Studio 2010 without any changes

Visual Studio 2010

2) Solution Explorer Updates

Another nice feature in Visual Studio 2012 is being able to navigate your code/functions as well as search your code from the Solution Explorer. In Visual Studio 2010 as shown in the screenshot below the only action possible was to click on a code file to edit it.

VS2010sln4

In Visual Studio 2012 the Solution Explorer now allows you to search files using the search box shown below and you can also navigate method definitions and access them directly by clicking them in the Solution Explorer as shown below.

Visual Studio 2012

Visual Studio 2012

3) Publishing to Windows Azure without using the Windows Azure Administration Portal.

In Visual Studio 2012 it is now also possible to Publish your Windows Azure application to the cloud without having to use the Administration Portal. I’ve previously blogged about how you can use the Windows Azure administration Portal with Visual Studio 2010. Now you can do the majority of this straight from Visual Studio 2012 with the latest Windows Azure SDK. Below is a video that demonstrates using the SDK to do this.

Start around* 30 minutes* into the video