Microsoft Advances 'Any Developer, Any App, Any Platform' Strategy

Microsoft continues to advance its strategy of providing the best tools for developers to build any application for any platform, and the results seem positive.

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Microsoft continues to advance its "Any Developer, Any App, Any Platform" strategy to attract developers to the company's rich suite of developers tools.

The company that was founded on the premise of connecting with developers knows the value of maintaining that relationship, and part of that today is providing support for open-source software and allowing developers to use the programming languages and platform they are comfortable with.

Next week, Microsoft will host its Connect(); developer conference in New York, where the company will lay out the next steps in its developer journey.

Julia Liuson, corporate vice president of the Visual Studio and .NET Framework teams at Microsoft, said at Connect(); the company will "talk about the next wave of the Microsoft developer platform and services, and how our tools and services will bring a connected end-to-end story from client tools, to DevOps, to an intelligent cloud."

In a post in the Microsoft Developer Network (MSDN) magazine, Liuson said she believes that now is a great time to be a .NET developer as the .NET ecosystem is thriving.

"With the acquisition of Xamarin, you can now write native C# apps for any mobile platform—iOS, Android or Windows—in any version of Visual Studio, leading to a higher percentage of code sharing across your apps," Liuson said. "And with the release of .NET Core 1.0 in June, we've brought you a cross-platform, open source, and modular .NET platform that's designed to help you target the needs of modern applications—highly distributed apps, componentization with microservices, and isolation with containers."

Microsoft acquired Xamarin earlier this year to give its developers a platform that enables developers to build mobile applications using C# and deliver native mobile app experiences on iOS, Android and Windows devices.

Tim Huckaby, founder and chairman of InterKnowlogy, a software consultancy and longtime part of the .NET ecosystem, told eWEEK, "A year ago the bold promise of Xamarin was not being fulfilled. It was buggy and lacked core features. Cut to today, it's an awesome toolset we cannot live without. We don't even build native mobile anymore."

Moreover, Huckaby said that a year ago developers were paying a load of money to Xamarin for licensing fees. "What is the first thing Microsoft did?" he asked. "They made it free. Brilliant. That is the adoption story. That is what is getting those young developers back to Visual Studio."

Liuson noted that .NET Core, .NET Compiler "Roslyn," ASP.NET, Visual Studio Code, Xamarin and TypeScript are all open-source projects. She also said GitHub's recently published 2016 statistics show Microsoft as the No. 1 leader in open-source contributors, above Facebook, Docker and Google, with 16,419 unique contributors. And Visual Studio Code, Microsoft's lightweight text editor for Mac OS X, Linux and Windows, is in the top 10 repositories on GitHub with the most open-source contributors, at more than 5,855.

"I see developers coming back to Microsoft in droves," Huckaby said. "This whole open-source everything has gained a huge amount of excitement and respect from those who were lost."

Carl Franklin, executive vice president at App vNext, agrees with Huckaby, noting that not long ago Microsoft had lost some of its caché with developers because of its strictly Windows stance, but that has changed.

"There may have been good reasons not to embrace .NET five years ago, but everything has changed in favor of it," Franklin said. "ASP.NET Core has surpassed Node in performance. Azure makes it easy and affordable to leverage cloud computing. Microsoft continues to push its offerings into open source. The list goes on and on."