Today was the long-awaited day when Visual Studio 2013 RTM was released. Check out Scott Guthrie’s blog post about all the new features for web developers. Today is also the day Web Essentials 2013 ships as version 1.0.

Don’t mix RTM and RC!

The new release of Web Essentials 2013 only works on Visual Studio 2013 RTM. Though you can install it on VS 2013 RC, some features will not surface and you might see a few alert boxes telling youSomething went wrong”.

Also, all the Browser Link extensions will only work for VS2013 RTM. That’s because the Browser Link API in Visual Studio changed slightly between RC and RTM.

You can still download the version of Web Essentials that works with Visual Studio 2013 RC.

A new web-based menu

With the introduction of Browser Link in Visual Studio 2013, it’s now possible for Web Essentials (and anyone else) to use the API to create brand new features that simply wasn’t possible before.

One such feature is the Browser Link menu that shows up at the bottom of your pages in the browsers. It looks like this:


It floats at the bottom of your web pages, but unless your mouse cursor is hovering it, it will be semi-transparent to get out of the way:


You can also toggle the visibility of the menu entirely. Just hit the CTRL key to either show or hide the menu. If you always want it to be hidden until you manually hit the CTRL key, then check the Auto-hide box on the right.

The idea behind the menu is to make it easy to discover the various Browser Link features provided by Web Essentials. Keep in mind that this is our first attempt at injecting a menu on your web pages, so I’d be really interested in any feedback you might have on this approach.

I’ve been using it for about a month now and I absolutely love having it there. I auto-hide it and then just hit CTRL when I need it and it hasn’t been annoying at all.

Stability and reliability

During the Visual Studio 2013 Preview and RC timeframe, we saw a lot of crashes caused by Web Essentials. I knew that was a possibility because the various Visual Studio API’s changed between Preview and RC (and also for RTM in the case of Browser Link).

It was therefore a top priority for me to make version 1.0 of Web Essentials as stabile and reliable as possible. A lot of bugs have been fixed and it’s probably the most reliable version of Web Essentials ever.

That said, there might still be a few hiccups left undiscovered. If you encounter any, even small ones, please don’t hesitate to open a bug on GitHub so it can be fixed.

Please enjoy Web Essentials 2013, suggest new features and send pull requests.


Comment by Jesper

Slightly off-topic, but is there a Browser Link extension template for RTM available, or even documentation for it?


Comment by Joel Mueller

Web Essentials 2013 no longer compiles CoffeeScript files for me. Every single CoffeeScript file gives me "SyntaxError: unexpected INDENT". Everything works fine if I switch back to VS 2012 and Web Essentials 2012...

Joel Mueller

Comment by Joel Mueller

Never mind that last, the 2013 version must have a more-strict version of the CS compiler. I found the missing comma that was causing the error, and now it compiles just fine.

Joel Mueller

Comment by Jesper

Great! That should probably be better publicized. I was under the impression that SideWaffle only contained stuff like Bootstrap and Angular templates.


Comment by mipe

I installed VS2013 RTM Essentials, but I miss some things.
I dont see in Js editor - Methods lookup like C# Editor.
Shortcuts ALT 1 (expand selection) and Surround With Tag does not works in aspx file only in html file.
Shortcut CTRL Enter does not work as well.
Where should be problem? Did I forget to install something?
My versions: VS Ultimate 2013 12.0.21005.1 REL and Web Essentials 2013 1.1


Comment by Mads Kristensen


The JS navigation bar was removed from VS2013 RTM due to performance issues. We're looking at bringing it back as soon as we have a fix.

Alt 1 and Surround With only works in the new HTML editor, but unfortunately not in the WebForms editor.

I made a mistake in the video saying the shortcut to open Smart Tags was CTRL Enter, but it is in fact CTRL . (dot)