Windows 8 and Visual Studio 11 developer preview available for download

As announced on the Building Windows 8 blog and on Jason Zander’s blog among other places, a developer preview of Windows 8 is available for download.  One of the download options for the Windows 8 Developer Preview includes a pre-installed version of the developer tools, including Visual Studio 11 and .NET Framework 4.5 developer preview.

Here are some links to help you get started downloading and using the Windows 8 Developer Preview and the associated developer tools:

Rob Mensching posted some additional information on his blog about setup features in Visual Studio 11.  There are a couple of key points that he mentioned in his post that I want to highlight here as well:

  • Visual Studio 11 setup is being built with the WiX 3.6 toolset and the Burn chainer.  This point is a little bittersweet for me personally.  One one hand, I have been really happy to see the Burn chainer technology grow into something that can support the relatively complex chaining scenarios needed by Visual Studio setup.  On the other hand, the previous Visual Studio setup chainer is one of the first things I worked on when I started at Microsoft back in 1999, and it was used to install all versions of Visual Studio from 2002 to 2010 as well as the .NET Framework 3.0 and 3.5.  It feels a little bit like the end of an era for me to finally see that chainer get retired.

  • Setup is integrated more tightly and earlier on in the developer work flow for Metro-style applications for Windows 8 than it has been in previous Windows development paradigms.  I feel pretty strongly that product development as a whole is most effective when setup is integrated into the product development lifecycle instead of being an afterthought.  Rob previously referred to this concept as setup-driven development, and I’m happy to see it become a more established practice in Windows 8.