To build effective and attractive database-driven websites, you need two things: a solid and fast framework to run your web pages on and a rich and extensive environment to create and program these web pages. With ASP.NET 4.5 and Visual Studio 2012 you get both. Together they form the platform to create dynamic and interactive websites.

ASP.NET 4.5 builds on top of its popular predecessors ASP.NET 2.0, 3.5, and 4.0. While maintaining backward compatibility with sites built using these older versions, ASP.NET 4.5 and Visual Studio 2012 introduce new, exciting features and bring many smaller, but much needed changes to the framework and development tools.

With each new release of Visual Studio since Visual Studio 2003, I am surprised by the sheer amount of new functionality and changes Microsoft has been able to put in the product. Visual Studio 2012 is no exception. If you're familiar with earlier versions, you'll notice the new design as a big change. The UI of Visual Studio has been updated to the Windows 8 design look and feel to better align with other products from Microsoft.

You'll also find many changes—small and large—in both the ASP.NET Framework and Visual Studio. Some of these changes are the improved CSS and JavaScript editors (discussed in Chapter 3 and Chapter 10, respectively), the strongly typed data-bound controls (discussed in Chapter 14), the inclusion of NuGet, discussed in Chapter 11, and the introduction of bundling and minification, discussed ...

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