I've talked before in presentations that the ASP.NET and Web Tools team has been slowly externalizing pieces of ASP.NET. You've seen it in many pieces of the ASP.NET runtime moving into NuGet while also being open sourced, and you've seen it as we've moved big chunks of the "tooling" (that means the menus and dialogs you interact within Visual Studio when using ASP.NET) into external installers.
Why are we doing this? Because the Web moves faster than Visual Studio does. We want to be able to offer a stable ASP.NET core that you can count on while being able to offer new and powerful features more often as needed.
Visual Studio itself has moved to a faster update model and recently released Visual Studio 2012.1 (that's Visual Studio 2012 Update 1 if you prefer.) You can get the VS2012.1 update here or just wait for Visual Studio to popup some toast and let you know.
We're going to release an update to ASP.NET we'll call ASP.NET and Web Tools 2012.2. This will happen early next year but today you can download our Release Candidate! You can watch my presentation with Jon Galloway from the BUILD conference or read the release notes. This RC is, of course, newer than the one we released at BUILD and has a better name.
This is a tooling refresh of Visual Studio 2012 and extends the existing run time with new features without breaking existing applications. This adds new templates and features including:
ASP.NET and Web Tools 2012.2 installs quickly and does NOT alter the current ASP.NET run time components or change the GAC. For a complete description see the Release Notes.
ASP.NET Fall 2012 Update for Visual Studio 2012 can be installed from the Fall 2012 Update home page(http://www.asp.net/vnext/overview/fall-2012-update). This is an update to Visual Studio 2012, which is required. This Release Candidate update does not support localized versions yet. You see the new features in English but we'll will have localization support in upcoming RTM. It is an RC so there are some known issues. Be sure to check out the Release Notes for issues and workarounds.
Also be sure to get our "labs" component for Web Developers called Web Essentials. This is a place for Mads and the team to try out new features and play. When those features are baked, we'll graduate them to an update like this one!
Why isn't this called ASP.NET 4.6? Because it's not. The GAC'ed ASP.NET 4.5 doesn't change. This is mostly a tooling update as well as a collection of NuGet-based libraries that augment but don't replace ASP.NET 4.5. If we called if ASP.NET 4.6 then folks would think they needed to rush to update their servers. They don't. It's an update for "Web Tools for VS 2012" but that's lame, so since we got the VS guys to use the .1, .2, .3 scheme rather than September Update CTP Refresh, then we can make things easier by calling this Web Tools 2012.2.
This .2 release is just a step towards a more componentized "One ASP.NET." I hope you enjoy the direction we're heading. We've got some new things planned like a unified "File New ASP.NET Application" dialog, a better way to add your own templates and share them with the community, and a more level playing field for everyone.
Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. I am a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.
In the future we want to make it so you (or any OSS project or corporation) can make your own VERY easily shared templates so you can say File New | Mike's style of coding rather than File New | Facebook App.
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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed herein are my own personal opinions and do not represent my employer's view in any way.