Alongside Microsoft's announcement that Windows 8 and Windows Server 2012 have been released to manufacturing, the Microsoft Developer Tools blog announced that the final builds for Visual Studio 2012 and .NET Framework 4.5 are now complete. MSDN subscribers will be able to download Visual Studio 2012 and .NET Framework 4.5 on August 15th. In addition, Microsoft has announced that a special Visual Studio 2012 launch event will take place on September 12th.

There's been a lot of debate surrounding Visual Studio 2012 regarding whether the toolset will truly be beneficial for developers. For example, several improvements have been made to Visual Studio 2012's UI after the product received much criticism from developers since the introduction of the Visual Studio 11 Beta. Michael K. Campbell, contributing editor for Dev Pro, has covered this area extensively in his article "Microsoft's Visual Studio Strategy has Major Problems." Additionally, I conducted a poll on the Dev Pro home page and asked readers whether they were happy with Microsoft's improvements. Eleven percent of respondents reported that they were happy with the UI, 15 percent of respondents thought that the changes were an improvement to the UI, and 74 percent of respondents still thought that the UI needed additional improvements.

Conversely, Dev Pro contributing author, Tim Huckaby, has written about how he's excited for the next version of Visual Studio in his article "The Evolution of Microsoft's Visual Studio." Although it's true that Visual Studio 2012 is a great tool for building .NET applications, it's clear that Microsoft's focus for this release is on Windows 8 application development. According to Huckaby, developers are excited to get their hands on Visual Studio 2012 to utilize the IDE's new features for Windows 8 application development. Despite this, Huckaby noted that it'll take some time before Windows 8 is installed in the enterprise, which means that developers won't be able to immediately take advantage of Visual Studio 2012's greatest features because many enterprises won't be looking to develop Windows 8 applications at this time.

Michael K. Campbell shares similar sentiments in his article "Why I'm Still Worried about Windows 8." In this article, Michael K. Campbell agrees that the Windows 8 UI is new and innovative, but it's very targeted toward consumers rather than developers. ". . . My beef is that although huge segments of the current consumer market today would be better off with appliances, I still need a computer with all of its complexity, power, and extensibility simply because I'm not a consumer in terms of my computer usage patterns." Keeping Michael K. Campbell's thoughts in mind, I wonder whether developers will be productive with the new Windows 8 and Visual Studio 2012 for their development needs.

Both of these commentaries bring up very valid questions about Visual Studio 2012 in the enterprise. I don't think anyone will argue that the Visual Studio 2012 toolset is very useful and innovative for building Windows 8 applications. However, will many developers be leveraging the new release in the workplace? Are you already using Visual Studio 2012 in the workplace or do you plan to upgrade soon? I'd love to hear your thoughts on this topic. Feel free to leave a comment below or send me a tweet at the Twitter handle, @blair_greenwood.