Microsoft releases free Visual C++11 Beta

Microsoft has released the beta of Visual Studio 11, with several treats in it. According to Herb Sutter, it has full support for “essentially the entire ISO C++11 standard library”, making it an industry first. The release also incorporates C++AMP, for parallel programming on CPUs and GPUs, with a fallback to multicore and SSE on platforms that are running Windows 8 but don’t have compute-class GPUs. C++ AMP was in the developer preview and the specification for it has been openly published, so there’s already some awareness of this technology out there, and I imagine Microsoft hopes this will translate into a desire to start using it now that it’s approaching commercial release. The Visual Studio 11 release is also designed to support the creation of Metro-style tablet apps.

Microsoft is making a few interesting strategic changes with this release too. Firstly, it’s supporting this software in production environments, which shows a high level of confidence in its readiness for use. That’s highly unusual. Secondly, it’s switching to a release cycle with more frequent updates outside of releases of Visual Studio, which will enable it add new C++11 language features regularly. You can vote on which features are most important to you here.

You can download the beta here. What are you most hoping for in the new Visual Studio? Has Microsoft made your dreams come true?

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