Microsoft announced today that it has released Visual Studio 2012 Update 1, the first in a planned series of upgrades to the firm’s well respected software development products.

“At our Visual Studio 2012 and .NET 4.5 launch event in September, I talked about our strong commitment to continuous value delivery and our new approach for providing updates to Visual Studio on a regular cadence of shorter intervals,” Microsoft corporate vice president S. Somasegar wrote in a post to his blog on MSDN. “I’m excited to announce that the first such update, Visual Studio 2012 Update 1, is now available.”

Update 1 comes a scant 3 months after the release of Visual Studio 2012. Microsoft finalized Visual Studio 2012 in August and launched the product line at a virtual event in September.

Microsoft notes that the new functionality in Update 1 primarily spans four areas of investment, Windows development, SharePoint development, agile teams, and continuous quality. And it includes a “wealth” of new functionality. Key changes include:

Windows Development. Developers can writeC++ applications that target Windows XP. Those creating Windows Store apps for Windows 8 and RT can now perform mixed-mode managed/native debugging and native ARM dump debugging. There’s also a JavaScript memory analysis tool, support for data-driven unit tests, and C++ unit testing enhancements. Windows Phone 8 developers can improve the quality of their apps with code analysis.

SharePoint development. In addition to the recently released “Napa” and Office Developer Tools for Visual Studio, Update 1 adds application lifecycle management (ALM) capabilities for SharePoint applications.

Agile teams. Update 1 includes many usability improvements in the web-based interface for Team Foundation Server, including new ways to navigate around the UI, more drag and drop support, and an improved source viewing and diffing experience. Overall, Update 1 includes for Team Foundation Server most of the improvements made to Team Foundation Service in recent months, Microsoft says.

Continuous quality. Update 1 adds support for cross-browser testing of ASP. NET applications, custom “traits” in Test Explorer, and various enhancements to Microsoft Test Manager.

You can download Visual Studio 2012 Update 1 from the Microsoft web site. Or, you can be alerted automatically in the near future when you run Visual Studio 2012.