Microsoft announced the release of Visual Studio 2015 and .NET 4.6, the latest version of its flagship developer toolset and framework that deliver on the company’s cross-platform aspirations.
Last November, Microsoft announced plans to become all things to all developers by taking its .NET framework cross-platform to support Linux and Mac environments, and to deliver cross-platform capabilities in the Visual Studio toolset.
“These releases are the next big step in the journey we outlined last November to bring the productivity of Visual Studio and .NET to any developer working on any kind of application while also delivering a new level of innovation in developer productivity for all Visual Studio developers,” said S. “Soma” Somasegar, corporate vice president of Microsoft’s Developer Division in a blog post.
Somasegar said the advancements in Visual Studio 2015 come in three primary categories or themes: Innovation in the integrated development environment (IDE), openness and choice, and DevOps and agility.
Visual Studio 2015 and .NET 4.6 brings hundreds of new features for developers building for desktop, web, mobile, cloud and more. In terms of IDE innovation and developer productivity improvements, Microsoft enhanced productivity across debugging and diagnostics, code editing and refactoring, and programming languages.
Somasegar said Visual Studio 2015 unifies debugging and profiling into a single Diagnostics Tools window, bringing insights about the correctness and performance of your running application into context during development. “This allows developers to do debugging and get profile information and being able to update the code as they are looking at it,” Somasegar told eWEEK. “I think that’s going to be fantastic for developers.” Also, with PerfTips, developers get performance information right in their code as they set breakpoints and step with the debugger, he said.
“This release of Visual Studio feels like they put a lot more work into things that matter to developers and what they’re doing in the Visual Studio environment every day,” said Marty Lewis, product development manager at Synergex, a Microsoft partner that provides tools to help organizations develop and use business applications. “Some of the past changes going from 2010 to 2012 you saw some improvements to your debugging experience and your editor experience. But with this release you’ve got improvements to the debugger, you’ve got improvements to the diagnostics profile and you’ve got improvements to their primary visual tools. So now with XAML you can do the visual tree debugging live while you’re running the application. It’s an incredible improvement from a developer standpoint to actually have so many new tool improvements compared to past releases that had incremental and moderate tool improvements.”
Jeff Greene, senior software engineer at Synergex, said: “My personal favorite jump for VS2015 over VS2013 is the improvements they’ve been making in the development area and the profiling tools. So having the profiling tools always running has been really nice as a developer. It makes those profiling operations less of an afterthought and more of something you are constantly presented with throughout the development cycle, which really helps you get there, in the end, better because you’ve been seeing it the whole time.”
Also the QuickWatch dialog box in the debugger for C# has gotten a lot more full-featured, Greene said.
“Before you couldn’t evaluate lambda expressions and now you can,” he told eWEEK. “There are a lot of times when you’re working on collections of objects that your normal access pattern against this list of something is that you need to run a link method against it. And now you can. Whereas before you had to go edit the code and restart the debug cycle because you couldn’t edit and continue with lambdas. And it made the cycle a lot faster.”
Meanwhile, in the editor, C# and VB developers can use the new Roslyn-based tooling, including Light Bulbs that proactively suggest potential fixes or code refactorings, Somasegar said.
Moreover, along with Visual Studio 2015 and .NET 4.6 come the final versions of C# 6 and VB.NET 12. Visual Studio 2015 also includes improved support for C++ 11/14/17 along with TypeScript 1.5, F# 4.0 and tools for Python and dozens of other languages, Somasegar said.