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Microsoft’s BUILD conference is currently going on, with focus on developers, developers and developers shining through more than just the name of the event.

One of the announcements to come out of today’s event opening is the news that a new version of Visual Studio along with .NET Framwork is on the cards. Unimaginatively named Visual Studio 2013, the updated software may not yet be ready for primetime but that hasn’t stopped Microsoft by making a developer preview of the said tool available for download immediately.

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This new 2013 edition of Visual Studio brings with it over 500 new APIs, as well as an interesting new power management features. Once enabled, this new feature allows developers to see the power consumption of their apps, making it easier to develop with extended battery life and lower power consumption in mind. In a world where long-life devices are almost demanded, such a tool could be invaluable for developers of apps that rely on Microsoft’s platforms. Network efficiency is also something that app developers will be able to keep tabs on with Visual Studio 2013.

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The new .NET 4.5.1 Framework Preview has also been released today and is compatible to run with Windows 8, Windows 7 SP1, Windows Vista SP2, Windows Server 2012, Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1 and Windows Server 2008 SP2.

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Visual Studio 2013 wasn’t the only big announcement to come out of Microsoft at BUILD today. Perhaps more interesting to many, Microsoft also announced a preview build of Windows 8.1 which is also made available for download, giving developers an easy way to start building their apps for Microsoft’s next version of operating system. The Windows 8.1 Preview download can be had if you’re willing to take a leap of faith on your PC, and comes with a ton of small enhancements which make up for a big improvement over Windows 8 and is worth giving a shot.

Visual Studio 2013 and .NET Framework 4.5.1 Previews are available to download for free right now from here: microsoft.com/visualstudio/eng/2013-downloads, so if you can’t wait to start creating apps using the latest and greatest development tools, then have at it!

(source: Microsoft)

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