Microsoft Visual Studio 2015 Launched

A Big Leap For Cross-Platform Development

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Microsoft this week officially launched the latest version of its Visual Studio integrated development environment (IDE) together with an update to its .NET framework, this after a year of previews and one release candidate. This new version of Visual Studio is a serious game changer that will enable developers to build the next generation of apps.

Visual Studio 2015 includes a lot more than just an updated version of Microsoft’s integrated development environment. It also encompasses the “Roslyn” .Net compiler platform, ASP.NET v.Next (codenamed Project K) and Apache Cordova tooling support, among other features. There are updated versions of VB.NET, C#, C++, TypeScript, F# and other languages and tools in VS 2015, as well.

More than 3.2 million developers have now registered for the Visual Studio Online services. Visual Studio Code, the standalone code editor for Windows, Mac and Linux, has seen half a million downloads since its launch three months ago. More than half of those downloads came from Mac and Linux users.

As mentioned by Microsoft’s corporate VP of its Developer Division S. “Soma” Somasegar at the time of the launch, the company’s aim with Visual Studio was to make good on its promise to deliver a tool that allows developers to target all the popular platforms. “When you think about Visual Studio, the core theme is that VS 2015 is a cross-platform tool set,” he said. “Developers have been asking for this and we are delivering it.”

To deliver on the cross-platform ideology, the Visual Studio team integrated Apache Cordova, for example, so that developers can write iOS and Android apps using HTML, CSS and JavaScript. They can also take their C++ language skills and build shared components for their iOS, Android and Windows apps. Thanks to its partnership with Xamarin, developers can also take their .NET apps and target iOS and Android. For Android developers, Visual Studio now even includes a built-in Android emulator.

VS 2015 is also a key piece of Microsoft’s Windows 10 app story, as it is meant to be the crux of the toolset for developers building Universal Windows apps. However, the additional Windows 10 tooling that developers need to build those apps is still not yet available in final form; it’s still in preview at this point.

There are three primary Visual Studio 2015 versions. Microsoft combined Visual Studio Premium and Visual Studio Ultimate into a new single bundle called Visual Studio Enterprise with Microsoft Developer Network (MSDN). The new The Enterprise version sits alongside Visual Studio Professional with MSDN and the free Visual Studio Community edition. (The Visual Studio Community edition is aimed at individual developers and developers in small shops.)

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