Microsoft’s developer principal has confirmed that the company’s latest software tools have been released. As such, Visual Studio 2015 and .Net 4.6 are now available for download. In a blog post detailing the news (Microsoft puts its ‘real’ software news in blogs, not press statements) Soma Somasegar explains what the products mean for the software industry.
As corporate vice president of the developer division at Microsoft Corporation, Somasegar (you can call me Soma) insists that his firm understands the need to target ‘any’ platform and any endpoint ‘client device’ driven by desktop, mobile or cloud computing technology (often the same thing, anyway) today.
“Whether you are targeting [Apple] iOS, Android or Windows on the client, targeting Windows or Linux on the server, or using a wide variety of languages and frameworks, our goal is to deliver developer tools and services that support the breadth of today’s developer needs,” said Somasegar.
What the products are, simply
Visual Studio itself is collection of developer tools and services (such as editing and debugging utensils) often referred to as an Integrated Development Environment (IDE). The Visual Studio Online suite is a set of cloud-based (it is, therefore, accessed online) collaboration services for version control, agile planning, continuous delivery and software application analytics. Also here we find .Net in its 4.6 release version — .Net (pronounced: dot net) is often referred to as a development framework and includes elements such as application ‘runtime’, class libraries, software language technologies and compiler tools.
Cross-platform, web… and cloud
Microsoft’s wider vision today is one of a world where any software developer can use these technologies and harness their ‘productivity and innovation’ power, even if they are building a product for a non-Microsoft platform. Somasegar blogs to say that Microsoft today realizes that its developer audience is cross-platform programmers looking at desktop, web, mobile, cloud and more.
“Last year, we introduced Visual Studio Community. This is a fully-featured Visual Studio IDE which is free for non-enterprise development. Earlier this year, in April, we released a preview of the new Visual Studio Code, a refined code editor for Mac, Linux and Windows supporting cross-platform web and cloud development. In the last three months, we’ve see more than 500k downloads of Visual Studio Code, with nearly half of those downloads on Mac and Linux,” he said.
Debugging diagnostics delights
Visual Studio 2015’s latest updates are focused on improvements in productivity across debugging and diagnostics, code editing and refactoring, plus also enhancements in relation to programming languages. New diagnostics tools are meant to provide insights into the ‘correctness and performance’ of an application in context, during development itself.
“Whether it’s developing for the web, the cloud or for mobile, developers are looking for flexibility and choice. Visual Studio and .NET are providing this choice, offering the ability to target new platforms, to use new programming languages, and to take existing skills and applications to new environments. As one part of this, over the last two years we have been open sourcing many of the components of our programming stacks in Visual Studio and .NET – from Roslyn and TypeScript to CoreCLR and the Python Tools for Visual Studio. On top of this, it’s easier than ever to work with open source technologies within Visual Studio,” insisted Somasegar.
Without making this story a list of technical specs, also here there are cloud updates. Visual Studio 2015 includes the latest Azure SDK 2.6 providing one-click provisioning and deployment to Azure for web sites and cloud services, along with management of all cloud resources. Also, Team Foundation Server 2015 and Visual Studio Online include a brand new build system which provides a simple web-based interface for configuring pluggable, cross platform build workflows for your continuous integration pipeline.
The new open springtime at Microsoft is justifiably real and has won around many previous critics of the firm. While there will still be naysayers and cynical worrywarts, the firm is opening up to an ‘ecosystem of extensions’ for Visual Studio that add support for new platforms, new workflows and new application types.
What is clear is that the promises Microsoft has laid down to provide real openness are being fulfilled. Yes, these are moves towards openness that are ultimately designed to bring in more revenue for Microsoft, but it’s a commercial company (like the one you probably work for) and that’s okay.
Microsoft apologists beware; there will be a crush in the line for lunch sooner or later.
This article was written by Adrian Bridgwater from Forbes and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.