Content Type Designer
Content types are a critical component of SharePoint development. Unfortunately, they have a legacy of a rather unusual inheritance structure. Inheritance is done through the content type id. This is a nuisance for SharePoint developers that have to remember content type ids or constantly look them up. Now there is a Content Type item template and designer that provides a nice little drop down for setting up inheritance:
Once you have selected what content type you would like to inherit from, you are presented with a nice little designer. While I am not a huge fan of many of the Visual Studio designers, I do like this one because it simplifies the rather mundane task of adding columns to your content type.
Note that this designer builds out a declarative content type. Also note that if you add a new site column using the new site column item template, the site column is immediately available for selection in the content type designer.
I did notice some quirky behavior. For example, when I double click on the elements.xml file for the content type in order to view the raw xml, I am presented with a dialog box that tells me the file is already open (even though it is not) and asks me if I want to close it. If I click yes, the raw xml is opened and the designer closes. That is what I wanted, but the dialog was a little confusing.
Many of the SharePoint 2010 project templates were moved to item templates. This more closely aligns the templates with how SharePoint developers setup their projects and solutions. In Visual Studio 2010 most of us got in the habit of creating a blank SharePoint project and building from there. In Visual Studio, you will select the "SharePoint 2010 Project" template instead, which really isn't much different, but a lot of the noise has been reduced.
There are now just a few SharePoint 2010 project templates. Below are the templates available in Visual Studio 2012 out of the box.
Most of the templates are now at the item level. Below are the SharePoint 2010 item templates available in Visual Studio 2012 out of the box.
Note that the item level templates now specify whether they are available as Sandbox solutions ("Farm Solution only").
You can find all of the documentation on the SharePoint 2010 templates available in Visual Studio 2012 here: http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ee231554.aspx
There is a new, lightweight find bar (I was always moving my find window around in Visual Studio 2010 because it was so big and clunky).
Project managers will love the much improved Agile and Scrum templates for Team Foundation Server 2012. And, of course, Visual Studio 2012 integrates perfectly with them. You can update work items, track bugs, manage builds, and even set alerts all from the comfortable confines of Visual Studio 2012.
Visual Studio 2012 officially launches on September 12 but is available now (http://www.microsoft.com/visualstudio/11/en-us). If you haven't already tried it, you should. I think you will like it.