Developers can now download the Visual Studio 2012 software development platform and accompanying .Net Framework 4.5, a Microsoft official has revealed.

Available to MSDN subscribers, Visual Studio 2012 supports development of what had been known as "Metro-style" applications geared to tablets. (Microsoft has run into trademark issues because of the Metro name.) The platform also offers enhancements for web development, JavaScript code editing, and a host of other improvements.

"Two weeks ago, I shared that final builds of Visual Studio 2012 and .Net 4.5 had been created, and that they'd be available for MSDN Subscribers on August 15. Well, today is August 15, and I'm excited to announce that the bits are live and ready to go," said Microsoft Corporate vice president S. Somasegar.

"With Visual Studio 2012, we're delivering a productive and powerful development experience, one that makes it easy to develop on your own or as part of a collaborative team, all the while building apps that target the latest platforms," Somasegar said."The interesting question for every developer out there is - what app will you build today? We look forward to discussing it more with you during the Visual Studio 2012 Launch Event on September 12."

Developers can also access free Visual Studio Express 2012 products or trial versions of Visual Studio 2012. If they choose, developers can install .Net Framework 4.5 separately here. Volume licensing customers can access Visual Studio 2012 today from the Volume Licensing Servicing Center. Packaged products will be in stores next month; some products will be available for purchase digitally in selected regions.

For Visual Studio 2012 users leveraging the Windows Azure cloud platform, the Windows Azure SDK for .Net - June 2012, has been updated. Microsoft Office Developer Tools for Visual Studio 2012 has been updated as well.