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Microsoft Enhances HTML Support In Visual Studio

Microsoft backs away from black, white, and grayscale interface and revives many of the palettes that Visual Studio had lost during an earlier redesign.

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Microsoft has apparently relented on changes to Visual Studio that would have seen the 2012 edition of the developer toolkit present an unimposing, monochromatic interface to users, a demo at TechEd 2012 in Orlando revealed on Monday.

An on-stage demonstration of some of the new tools in Visual Studio 2012 by Microsoft corporate VP Jason Zander showed that the suite had regained many of the palettes that it had lost during an earlier redesign that Redmond said was supposed to make the software sleeker looking and easier to use.

But the change to a black, white, and grayscale interface outraged many long-time users of the program, who complained that it was dull and uninspiring. The reversion to a multi-color GUI was "a popular request," said Zander.

[ Microsoft has a lot of new products slated for introduction in the near future. Read Microsoft Stress-Tests Windows Server 2012 With Bing. ]

Zander also broke the news that Visual Studio 2012 will support HTML output in its LightSwith rapid application toolkit, with an emphasis on creating apps for mobile devices.

It's the latest indication that Microsoft is, at the very least, allowing alternative Web presentation technologies to play on an equal footing with its Silverlight platform. SilverLight has failed to catch on with many Web developers, and Microsoft of late has been talking up its support for HTML5 and JavaScript.

With HTML support, LightSwitch users can quickly roll out line of business apps that can draw data from various sources around the Web. Zander demonstrated how a trucking company could use LightSwitch to develop an app that allows it to manage its own operations as well as conduct business with external partners by sharing data that's been exposed to the Web.

Earlier, during his keynote presentation, Microsoft Server & Tools group president Satya Nadella said that all of the platforms in Microsoft's new business development environment, which includes Visual Studio 2012, .Net Framework 4.5, and parts of Windows Server 2012 and the Azure cloud OS, have been built to support creation of enterprise apps that now need to be "personal, social, and intelligent" to work in social and collaborative environments.

"You have to rethink the lifecycle around these applications," said Nadella, who noted that "Active Directory becomes critical" for the development of context aware apps that provide a personalized experience for each user.

Visual Studio 2012 is expected to ship later this year, though Microsoft has not formally confirmed a launch date.

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