Announcing the ASP.NET and Web Tools 2012.2 Release!

We're excited to announce the official release of ASP.NET and Web Tools 2012.2!

The most important thing to know about this release is that it doesn't affect the ASP.NET runtime or your existing projects and doesn't require any changes on your server. You can think of this as more of a Visual Studio web update that includes some new ASP.NET project templates. It works on my machine, is well behaved, and gentle around children and small pets.

I made a 25 minute video that overviews the features and shows a lot of code samples: Introduction to the ASP.NET and Web Tools 2012.2 Release:

Here's a summary (complete with some pretty pictures) and info on where to learn more.

What's in a name?

This release is named ASP.NET and Web Tools 2012.2, which is a bit of a mouthful. It's a tasty mouthful, though. Here's what it means:

ASP.NET - This release has new templates and tooling for the whole ASP.NET family: ASP.NET Web Forms, ASP.NET MVC, ASP.NET Web API, and more.

Web Tools - Historically, you had to wait for a big Visual Studio release to get updated features. That doesn't cut it these days, when a new language, JavaScript framework or SPA system goes up on Hacker News every week. In addition to the Web Essentials extension (which has nightly builds available if that's your style), the Visual Studio Web Tools team has worked hard to make it possible to officially ship new web features quickly. We just shipped Visual Studio 2012 last August, here's a bunch of new web tools for ya.

2012.2 - Naming is hard. The idea here is that this is a semantic name (or more semantic than Spring CTP Refresh Preview etc. etc.) that says this is an incremental release for the tools and templates that shipped with Visual Studio 2012.

What's in the box?

I made a handy diagram to explain the release. They tell me that software no longer ships in boxes, but if it did I think this should go on the cover:

What's new in Web Forms?

I really like ASP.NET 4.5 model binding and data control model updates. It brings a lot of the patterns I like in ASP.NET MVC to ASP.NET Web Forms, just scoped to the control level. Your data aware controls get and update data via methods which are control agnostic, the updates are model bound and validated, etc. It's quite nice.

The FriendlyURLs package helps you take advantage of that and push it further by bringing URLs inline with this model. It does two things for you:

  • It automatically maps URLs to ASPX pages
  • It automatically passes route values to controls with a nice bindable syntax

That means that you can have a URL like /Album/Edit/1 which maps to /Album/Edit.aspx, passing the 1 ID value so that controls can bind to it like this:

public Album EditAlbum_GetItem([FriendlyUrlSegments] int? id)
    return _db.Albums.Find(id);


What's new in SignalR?

Well, the main thing is that it's now ASP.NET SignalR. That means that, while it's still an open source project, it's officially shipped by and supported by Microsoft.

What's new in ASP.NET Web API?

Three big things:

Automatic Help Page generation - see a live sample here.

Tracing - Everything in the pipeline is output to the System.Diagnostics.Trace, so you can read it in the Visual Studio output window as well as any registered Trace Listener.

OData - Lots of new stuff here, including routing and query validation


ASP.NET MVC gets a few new templates, plus a big new bonus.

First, the Facebook template makes it easy to create full Facebook apps. Your users log in on Facebook, approve your requests to access their Facebook content, and then your app can interact with their social graph.

Secondly, there's a lightweight Single Page Application template based on Knockout.js and ASP.NET Web API.

And, thirdly, the big new bonus - we've made it possible to create new ASP.NET MVC templates using a Visual Studio extension (VSIX). Expect to see a lot more templates from us and others in the community!

What's new in Web Tools?

The web tools features are of course really visual, so I encourage you to watch the video above. Some highlights:

Page Inspector now has live sync, so when you update CSS you'll see it update immediately.

There's IntelliSense support for Knockout bindings, CoffeeScript, and more.

The integrated publishing includes single file publish and compare. That means that you can edit a single file and push it out, or even compare your local changes against the live production version.

Where do I get it?

As always, you can find the new release at

Where can I learn more?

Over the next two months we will have a series of new Web Camp events occurring around the world. We're finalizing several of them over the next few days.  Register today to attend one of these free one day events and learn how to build awesome web apps.


  • Is it possible to use web api and azure mobile services from MVC.
    Otherwise, dataJS(CORS) was on the schedule to be implemented for web services as OData but not sure where that is??

  • Hi Jon,
    I have VS2012 Premium & I installed the 2012.2 update. I do see facebook template under MVC. But I do not see SignalR template installed anywhere. I have now uninstalled the update few times and reinstalled it. Not sure what else I need to do to get SignalR template.
    Any help would be appreciated.



  • Thanks a lot for the video, but it would be really really nice to view it with a higher resolution and actually see all characters in the code on the screen.

  • Unfortunately the Knockout highlighting and intellisense is half baked. It screws up on me fairly rapidly, leaving grey stripes randomly over my html page, half in my KO binding expressions and half out.

  • Will the page inspector also support automatic reloading when a .less file is changed (and compiled to CSS using WebEssentials)?
    AFAICS now it only shows a message that a file has changed, but I have to reload manually.

  • ASP.NET and Web Tools 2012.2 provides great features like New Web API functionality.

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