SAN FRANCISCO – Microsoft’s Build conference is always a major developer fest where the company unveils all kinds of neat new tools and services, but in the words of one company evangelist, this year Microsoft has outdone itself.
Indeed, Microsoft released Visual Studio 2015 Release Candidate (RC), .NET Framework 4.6, Team Foundation Server 2015 RC, and Visual Studio 2013 Update 5 RC and also a preview of a new tool that runs on Mac OS, Linux, and Windows called Visual Studio Code.
In a blog post, John Montgomery, director of product management for Visual Studio at Microsoft, called Visual Studio Code the big announcement of the day. This new member of the Visual Studio family is a free, lightweight, cross-platform code editor for Mac OS X, Linux, and Windows. It includes many of the familiar features of Visual Studio, such as IntelliSense, peek, code navigation, and debugging, but it centers on being a keyboard-centric editor. It supports a wide range of languages with enhanced support for Node.js and ASP.NET 5.
Visual Studio Code was met with enthusiasm when Scott Hanselman, a Microsoft principal program manager, introduced it as part of a demo during the conference’s opening keynote.
“Visual Studio Code is a neat tool and something they totally needed to do,” said Miguel de Icaza, chief technology officer at Xamarin, a close Microsoft partner in the tools space. "This is a boost for server-side Web app development and ASP.NET. Most Web developers aren't using Visual Studio, so this is a way to appeal to them."
Visual Studio Code is certainly in line with Microsoft’s commitment to become all things to all developers or to “empower every developer on the planet,” as Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said. The concept of building bridges for developers on platforms other than Windows is resonating. Hanselman drew "oohs and aahs" when he demonstrated Visual Studio Code running in the iOS and Linux (Ubuntu) environments.
In his own post, Hanselman wrote:
“Visual Studio Code has syntax highlighting for dozens of languages, the usual suspects like CoffeeScript, Python, Ruby, Jade, Clojure, Java, C++, R, Go, makefiles, shell scripts, PowerShell, bat, xml, you get the idea. It has more than just autocomplete (everyone has that, eh?) it has real IntelliSense. It also as IntelliSense for single files like HTML, CSS, LESS, SASS, and Markdown. There's a huge array of languages that Visual Studio Code supports.
Meanwhile, last November Microsoft introduced the free Visual Studio Community edition and announced plans to take .NET Core public. And over the last six months, the company has seen the results from both of these efforts with more than 2.7 million downloads of Visual Studio Community and a vibrant ecosystem of developers and organizations rallying around open-source, cross-platform .NET development, said S. “Soma” Somasegar, corporate vice president of Microsoft’s Developer Division.