Mark February 29 in your calendars, as Microsoft will deliver the betas of Windows 8, the new version of Visual Studio codenamed Visual Studio 11 and a beta of the .NET 4.5 framework on that day.

The Visual Studio and .NET beta will arrive with go-live licensing, meaning that production deployments will be supported.

An addition to the tools is Team Foundation Server Express, which will be a cut-down version of the existing Team Foundation Server. It will also be free and support a team of up to five people.

A more noticeable change is the new UI for the suite that does away with the colour schemes in favour of a washed-out appearance.

(Credit: Microsoft)

Redmond has reduced the amount of UI that is shown to the developer. An example of this is the removal of cut and paste buttons from the toolbar, as research showed that users were using the shortcut keys instead.

On the .NET side, C# and Visual Basic will support asynchronous code, with the framework now providing WebSocket support, background server garbage collection and multicore background JIT compilation.

Remember all those times that a non-developer/designer sent through a mock-up on PowerPoint? Hold onto that chill in your spine as they are going to increase with support coming for storyboarding within PowerPoint.

(Credit: Microsoft)