Microsoft Open-Sources .NET Components, Launches Foundation
Somasegar maintains that more and more .NET components and libraries can benefit from an open process that is transparent, and Microsoft welcomes participation. The foundation will foster the involvement and direct code contributions from the community, both through its board members as well as directly from individual developers, through an open and transparent governance model that strengthens the future of .NET. The foundation also will promote innovation from a partner ecosystem and open-source community, and will encourage commercial partners and open-source developers to build solutions that leverage the platform to provide additional innovation to .NET developers. This includes extending .NET to other platforms, extending Visual Studio to create new experiences, providing additional tools and extending the framework and libraries with new capabilities, Somasegar said. Last November, Microsoft announced a partnership with Xamarin to enable C# and Visual Studio developers to target additional mobile devices including iOS and Android. By using .NET Portable Class Libraries, developers can easily share libraries as well as application logic across their device applications as well as with their backend implementations. Visual Studio and .NET provide developer productivity for application developers targeting the Windows family of devices. With Xamarin, developers can take this productivity to iOS and Android as well. And with Xamarin working closely with Microsoft on the new foundation, more innovation is expected.The .NET Compiler Platform project includes the next versions of the C# and VB compilers, as well as a compiler-as-a-service API that powers rich integrated development environment (IDE) integration, and opens up the compiler to all sorts of developer integrations, Somasegar said. Microsoft released the .NET Compiler Platform as open source, with the development team now working on CodePlex. The open-source compiler platform will enable a broader community of developers to contribute to the evolution of the project and to integrate the .NET compilers into a wide variety of projects. And the .NET Compiler Platform preview release also includes several new IDE features. "One thing we gain is we get more people excited and willing to take a bet on .NET because they know they can have access to the code they can build on top of it—particularly, if you think about Roslyn and you want to deliver a compiler as a service," Somasegar told eWEEK. "So being able to open-source the compiler really helps people understand what the compiler looks like, what it does and how they can take advantage of it. This lets you build a higher value thing on top of C# and VB compilers. "The second thing is, we have some very smart people inside the company, but there are a lot of smart people outside the company, and we'd love to get some feedback from them. This both helps us to be more transparent and also allows us to get feedback and contributions from others that will make it a better product in the long run," he said.
In fact, at Build 2014, Miguel de Icaza of Xamarin showed how the .NET Compiler Platform can be used to provide a rich C# IntelliSense experience in Xamarin Studio, running on a MacBook. "Open-sourcing the .NET Compiler Platform and the C# and VB compilers opens up countless new opportunities for tools and services to be built around .NET," Somasegar said.