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Visual Studio 2012 was released in September 2012 along with Microsoft .NET Framework 4.5. Visual Studio comes in three editions: Professional, Premium, and Ultimate. There are also some Express products available:
- Express for Web
- Express for Windows 8
- Express for Windows Desktop
- Express for Windows Phone
The Express products are distributed free of charge from Microsoft.
New and improved key features included:
- Windows Store applications in support of the Windows 8 environment
- Windows Phone 8 application development
- ASP.NET Web API and SignalR
- Full support of the NuGet package manager
- New asynchronous features in C# and Visual Basic
- New versions of C#, F#, and Visual Basic along with support for the C++ 11 language standard
- IIS Express became the default server for web development, providing better support for IIS
- Extended support for .NET versions 2.0, 3.0, 3.5, 4.0, and 4.5.
- Additional support has been provided for .NET 4.5.1 and 4.5.2
Additionally, Microsoft introduced the process of using updates for adding new functionality and fixing bugs in place of the occasional Service Pack. Visual Studio 2012 had four updates; however, updates continued through the adding of new features from Visual Studio 2013.