Microsoft Releases Python Tools for Visual Studio 2.1 Beta

Microsoft this week released Python Tools for Visual Studio 2.1 Beta for developers. The expanded set of open source tools should ease the pain of web programming and technical computing, and are being offered for free under the Apache 2.0 license.

S. Somasegar, corporate vice president of the Developer Division at Microsoft, offered a detailed look at the new tools in a blog post. "With integrated IPython REPL support for smart history, shell commands and inline images, these tools provide a great exploratory coding environment," said Somasegar. "And with unique features like mixed mode debugging of Python with C++ and remote debugging of Linux servers in Azure, Visual Studio provides a great development environment for Python developers."

PTVS Debugging Tool

Python Tools for Visual Studio 2.1 Beta (PTVS) adds new support for the Bottle and Flask web frameworks, adds support for installing Visual Studio Express, and makes improvements to Django template IntelliSense. The editing experience for Django templates includes: full support for HTML5, CSS and JS; CSS and JS syntax highlighting and Intellisense; and significantly improved HTML Intellisense. Microsoft says the PTVS includes debugger performance and stability improvements when working with large data sets, and now allows developers to add a CoreCompile target to their project to enable building non-web projects inside Visual Studio.

There is also a generic web framework template that can be used with others such as Pyramid. Microsoft is working to add support for remote debugging for Azure Web Sites, which it expects to be available in PTVS 2.1 Beta 2. That beta should be available soon.

According to Somasegar, developers can run Python code in most modern browsers as long as the browser is backed by a local Python engine. It can also be run in Azure. "Where PTVS provides detailed IntelliSense and advanced debugging and profiling support, IPython enables easy sharing of 'executable' notebooks comprised of mixed code, markdown and graphics," he explained.

PTVS 2.1 Beta can be installed in the free Visual Studio Express for Web as well as Express for Windows Desktop. This means that there won't be anymore "PTVS-Integrated" releases. The Express editions have all the features in the Integrated package. Python Tools for Visual Studio 2.1 Beta are being hosted on CodePlex.

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