(RTM) of Windows 8, Windows Store, Windows Server 2012, Visual Studio 2012 and .Net 4.5 Announced; Download MPR Test Tool 3.5

Microsoft hits an important milestone for the Visual Studion and Windows products families including Visual Studio 2012, Windows 8, Windows Server 2012 has reached the Release to Manufacturing (RTM) phase and will be available for download. The new platform supports application development, deployment and management on a variety of devices and screen sizes. From smartphones […]

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Microsoft hits an important milestone for the Visual Studion and Windows products families including Visual Studio 2012, Windows 8, Windows Server 2012 has reached the Release to Manufacturing (RTM) phase and will be available for download.

The new platform supports application development, deployment and management on a variety of devices and screen sizes. From smartphones to highly scalable cloud solutions, Visual Studio 2012, Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012 are ready to support your business and entertainment needs.

Microsoft also revealed that the previews of Windows 8 (Developer, Consumer, Release) have been the most widely and deeply used test releases of any product ever done by the company and "over 16 million PCs actively participated in these programs, including approximately 7 million on the Release Preview."

Microsoft has now started releasing Windows 8 to PC OEM and manufacturing partners. Microsoft says, that the "availability of new PCs models loaded with Windows 8 and online availability of Windows 8 is slated on October 26, 2012" to users with a price tag of $39.99.

And, those who buy an eligible Windows 7 PC today, will be able to purchase an upgrade to Windows 8 Pro for $14.99 (U.S.) through the Windows Upgrade Offer.

Windows 8 RTM

Here is the Windows 8 RTM roadmap:

  • "August 15th: Developers will be able to download the final version of Windows 8 via their MSDN subscriptions.
  • August 15th: IT professionals testing Windows 8 in organizations will be able to access the final version of Windows 8 through their TechNet subscriptions.
  • August 16th: Customers with existing Microsoft Software Assurance for Windows will be able to download Windows 8 Enterprise edition through the Volume License Service Center (VLSC), allowing them to test, pilot and begin adopting Windows 8 Enterprise within their organization.
  • August 16th: Microsoft Partner Network members will have access to Windows 8.
  • August 20th: Microsoft Action Pack Providers (MAPS) receive access to Windows 8.
  • September 1st: Volume License customers without Software Assurance will be able to purchase Windows 8 through Microsoft Volume License Resellers," Microsoft informs.

Businesses, who are looking for Windows 8 -- can starting on August 16th, access the RTM flavor of Windows 8 Enterprise through the Volume License Service Center (VLSC), provided that they have Microsoft Software Assurance for Windows.

"Customers have already started sharing with us how Windows 8 features like new Windows 8 apps, new hardware experiences like tablets, Windows To Go, enhanced security, DirectAccess, and desktop virtualization advancements are bringing about new business opportunities that give their organizations immediate value - from improved mobility and productivity to increased management functionality," he notes.

"And every customer scenario is unique as well, making Windows 8 one of the most personalized operating systems for business customers - and their employees - yet."

And, for customers without Software Assurance, Microsoft is opening the doors to Windows 8 only on September 1st, through Microsoft Volume License Resellers. According to Microsoft's Erwin Visser, customers should "consider adding the MDOP subscription to your agreement to make the most out of Windows for your business."

"For many of our customers, their future computing strategy includes the need to manage Windows features, restore user productivity, and virtualize applications the operating system and the user experience and MDOP products can help you do this."

"Companies currently migrating to Windows 7 should continue those deployments while assessing Windows 8, so that they would find it easy to start adopting Windows 8 side-by-side with Windows 7," Visser notes.

Windows Server 2012 RTM

Also, reached the RTM phase today is the Windows Server 2012. The final code complete Server OS is now begun delivering to hardware and software vendor partners this week.

The Server 2012 will be avilable to volume licensing customers in the next couple of weeks. And, the general availability for evaluation and purchase by all customers around the world is slated on "September 4."

Microsoft says, "on that day they'll host an online launch event where Microsoft executives, engineers, customers and partners will share more about how Windows Server 2012 can help organizations of all sizes realize the benefits of what we call the Cloud OS."

Those who would like to participate should head over to the Windows Server 2012 launch page to get the inside scoop on the product.

With Windows 8 reaching RTM, Windows Store is also now open for business, for the paid applications can now be submitted, and the Store will rapidly expand to over 200 markets around the world.

"Starting today, any qualifying business in a supported market can now submit a Metro style app for Windows 8 in the RTM Windows Store! Companies qualify through account registration, which includes an account verification process," Microsoft stated.

Although, you may know, to upload apps to the Store, you'll need an RTM build of Windows 8 (MSDN versions available on August 15), followed by trial version via TechNet.

Until then, developers can kepp building apps using the Release Preview, and can also register their company account now. Registering now will help ensure you can hit the ground running when the RTM build is released.

Individuals looking to submit apps to the Store, "stay tuned--we'll have more info to share with you soon," Microsoft said.

Not only is the Window Store now open for company accounts, but with this release, Microsoft added more catalogs and app submission languages, as well as increased localization of developer experience.

Here is what's new today:

  • ""54 new markets are added today to the list of distinct catalog offerings, giving developers more specific market opportunities and more chances to provide truly relevant apps to customers."
  • Added 24 new app certification languages, bringing the total to 38 app submission languages and more than doubling the number supported in the Release Preview.
  • Developer dashboard is now available in an additional 11 languages, allowing you to choose the language you want for submitting apps, checking the certification process, and viewing analytics.
  • Transaction support is now enabled, and registered developers can submit paid apps to the Store, including in-app purchases.
  • The Application Developer Agreement (ADA) has been updated to reflect the financial details announced back at Store Preview event: the base Store fee is 30% of revenue for any transactions occurring through our transaction platform; we reduce the fee to 20% for any app that achieves $25,000 USD (or equivalent) in total revenue using our transaction platform, and for the lifetime of that app.
  • Released full transaction support as part of the platform and offer industry-leading economic terms to developers.
  • Certification policy updates include clarification on apps that use DirectX, and a couple of changes related to apps that collect personal information, privacy policies, and age ratings. All of the changes are listed in the revision history at the end of the certification page.
    Evolving the experience
  • Finally, hundreds of fit-and-finish improvements made to the Store since the Release Preview including: "added support for search from the Store landing page, simply by typing."," Microsoft informed

Visual Studio 2012 RTM

Another product hitting the RTM today is the Visual Studio 2012 and .Net 4.5- and the engineering team is now preparing the build for our numerous distribution channels.

"Visual Studio 2012 will be available for everyone to download from MSDN and elsewhere on August 15th."

"Visual Studio Professional, Premium, Test Professional, and Ultimate with MSDN Subscribers can also sign up for a free, one year developer account for Windows Store today, with Windows Phone developer accounts coming soon," Microsoft stated.

Also, on September 12th, Microsoft will hold a developer-focused event in Redmond, providing people with the possibility to learn more on the new product, as well as to enjoy hands-on with Visual Studio 2012. Check out here to learn more.

Visual Studion 2012 Virtual Launch Event, Sep 12, 2012

Administrators and developers who need to detect if Visual Studio 2012 is installed on a machine can use similar keys as those used for past releases like Visual Studio 2010. In general, these detection keys are always found in the 32-bit registry hive with a pattern like:

  • Core product: HKLM\Software\Microsoft\DevDiv\Family\Servicing\Version\Edition
  • Installed languages: HKLM\Software\Microsoft\DevDiv\Family\Servicing\Version\Edition\LCID

So if you needed to detect if VS2012 Ultimate is installed, you can check if the "Install" registry value is set (will always be a REG_DWORD with data set to 1) in the following language-independent registry key:

  • HKLM\Software\Microsoft\DevDiv\VS\Servicing\11.0\Ultimate

What has changed from previous releases like VS2010 is that Ultimate contains the Professional and Premium editions, just like Premium contains Professional. This is handy because in the past if a developer's add-in (for example) supported Professional and greater, the developer would have to check at least three different registry keys. Now to detect Professional or greater you need to only check in the following registry key:

  • HKLM\Software\Microsoft\DevDiv\VS\Servicing\11.0\Professional

Microsoft says they've also added the complete product version to the registry key, when before this was only the build and revision numbers.

Microsoft also released a ebook collects the first 7 parts of SilverlightShow article series 'Windows 8 Metro', together with source code.

Introduction to Windows 8 Metro Part 1: Ebook

In this first part (2 more parts expected to be released, following the development of the series) Andrea introduces the basic concepts of Windows 8 development, and covers developing your first application, the application life-cycle, the new metro controls and more.

From the author

"In the recent days an epocal change is becoming evident. If you tried to download the new Windows 8 Consumer Preview, available for free on Microsoft website, you know what I mean. The change, that is greatly focused on a new user experience, is driven by the growing power of portable devices that are becoming prevalent on common desktop and laptops. Up to the day before today, tablet PCs, smartphones, and generically speaking touch-enabled devices was expensive and not effective, but they are now something that common people start to take in serious consideration from the effectiveness perspective and also from the economical point of view."

You can get the e-Book here.

Finally, version 3.5 of the Microsoft Platform Ready Test Tool is now avilable -- and is designed to help test applications for compatibility with latest technologies and platforms from Microsoft.

The MPR Test Tool is a fully automated, wizard style tool that implements technical requirements described in the Microsoft Platform Ready Test Requirements Criteria.

Microsoft says this tool is recommended for Customers to evaluate third party applications and for testing Line of business applications. "Depending on the platform the tool is installed, a different set of Competency checks will be available," explains Microsoft.

"This tool is required to be used to qualify for the Microsoft Platform Ready Programs and the Windows Server 2012 Application Certification. The Windows Server 2012 test in this tool can help improve compatibility and Security of Server Applications," the software company said.

Testing with this tool is required to participate in the Windows Server Application Certification program. Logo Artwork Usage Guidelines: A new logo artwork for both Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012 is for illustration purposes only.

"This new artwork may not be used publicly until after Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012 General Availability. We will provide more guidance on when and how to use the new Windows certification logos in the future."

The utility comes with support for Windows 7 Service Pack 1, Windows 8, Windows 8 Release Preview, Windows Server 2008 R2 SP1, Windows Server 2008 R2, Windows Server 2012 RC, Windows Server 2012, and Windows Server 2012 Essentials.

You can download Microsoft Platform Ready Test Tool 3.5 here.

Microsoft Platform Ready Test Tool (MPR Test Tool) 3.5

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