During Monday's keynote at TechEd North America 2013 in New Orleans, Microsoft announced that it will be launching the next version of the company's major IDE, Visual Studio 2013 later this year. In addition, a preview build will be made publicly available at Build 2013 in San Francisco that's being held toward the end of this month.

Similar to how Visual Studio 2012 has been positioned, the new release continues to pave the way to find solutions to big problems that many developers face with respect to agile development. Visual Studio 2013 really looks to find different and meaningful ways to help developers go from an idea to implementation to production, without compromising quality or efficiency throughout the application's lifecycle.

Although agile development provides several different benefits such as user-focused development in the form of visible progress and opportunities for client feedback, improved collaboration between operation and development teams, and faster concept to deployment, this type of development strategy isn't without its challenges.

Brian Harry, Microsoft Technical Fellow and Product Unit Manager for Team Foundation Server, explained that the Visual Studio and Team Foundation Server teams are working hard to address the challenges that developers are commonly faced with in terms of agile development. For example, Visual Studio 2013 aims to break down the barriers between development and operations teams by redefining how these two groups work together to streamline deployment and improve maintainability of newly-developed software.

According to Harry, agile development has created somewhat of an impedance mismatch where the two teams are working at different cycles, which makes it difficult to get the most value out of the new code from the development teams. As a result, the DevOps' mission to bring developers and operations together for better collaboration and productivity is a primary focus for Visual Studio 2013.

Finally, there is a distinguishable difference between implementing agile development processes for a startup company compared to a larger enterprise company that has several hundreds or thousands of developers. Acknowledging this fact, Harry stated that Visual Studio 2013 is addressing the complexity of agile development for large enterprises so that these groups can also capitalize on the benefits that agile provides.

Visual Studio 2013 includes several new ALM features, such as business agility, quality enablement, and DevOps-specific enhancements. Some of the most notable features from the keynote include a new agile portfolio management capability that lets users plan agile projects at scale by showing the hierarchical relationship between work being done in multiple teams throughout an organization. In addition, Visual Studio 2013 is also bringing a new team room that's integrated into TFS that helps improve collaboration amongst team members via a real-time chat room that integrates data and interactions elsewhere within TFS. Stay tuned for an additional and in-depth look from Dev Pro on the many features that are coming to Visual Studio 2013, along with up-to-date news and information as details begin to emerge as Build 2013 approaches.