“Light Bulbs highlights any ‘gotchas’ in your code – whether it is a syntax error or a semantics error or whatever it is you have in your code,” he said. “This happens right in the editor as you are working on your code.”
As part of its move to open up Visual Studio to developers from non-Microsoft environments, Visual Studio and .NET offer the ability to target new platforms, to use new programming languages, and to take existing skills and applications to new environments, Somasegar said.
“Whatever kind of application they are building, the one thing developers want is choice,” Somasegar said in an interview. “They want a choice of what language they use, they want a choice of what programming stack they use, they want a choice of what platform they want to be targeting, they want a choice of what environment. We took that to heart and we enable you to use C# and .NET to build mobile apps and we enable you to extend that to iOS and Android. We also allow you to use C++ for cross-platform mobile development. We provide tooling for Apache Cordova that enables you to do cross-platform mobile development.”
Visual Studio 2015 includes cross-platform mobile development tools for building applications targeting iOS, Android and Windows, and offers choice in what languages and technologies to use to develop mobile applications. It also includes a high-performance Visual Studio Emulator for Android for debugging and testing Android applications.
“The Visual Studio Android emulator has been pretty important to improving our productivity,” Synergex’s Greene said. “The Google emulators are incredibly slow. The Microsoft Android emulator is a night and day difference. Everything seems to run at full native speed of the host processor. And it dramatically reduces the amount of time it takes for us to run our test suites. It used to take a day on the Google emulator and now takes one or two hours.”
Synergex got on board with Visual Studio 2015 early on with the preview builds. And as Microsoft began releasing more of its cross-platform tools, Synergex had to make changes to its back-end development processes because Microsoft suddenly gave them the ability to start building all of their native components for their native run time on one build server instead of on a series of different servers as they had in the past, Lewis said.
Synergex’s Synergy/DE is a suite of software development tools for building cross-platform, enterprise applications. Synergy/DE is built around Synergy DBL, the company’s object-oriented programming language designed for business that runs in multiple environments including .NET.
Greene said Synergex’s tools also run on Xamarin-supported platforms, so the Synergy/DE language also runs on Android and iOS. Part of the language running anywhere is that Synergy has to have the language’s run time as a supplement to the .NET Framework. The language features some native components such that Synergy has to build those for all of the different platforms the company supports. So the cross-platform C++ technology Microsoft includes in Visual studio 2015 makes that task easier.
“We have native components for Linux and Android and we’re working on iOS,” Lewis said. “It’s a world of difference from where we were at just before the release of these tools, where we had to go to all of these individual systems, make sure all the sources were in sync, do all these separate build processes and then bring them all together. Now we can do it all in one place thanks to Microsoft’s tools.”
Asked if Visual Studio 2015 is truly a cross-platform development tool, Somasegar said, “I would say a resounding yes. You can use Visual Studio 2015 to target any platform of your choice. It is absolutely a cross-platform development tool. At the same time, Windows is still our flagship platform and we have a great tool set in Visual Studio 2015 for Windows app development, including tools for Windows 10 to let you take advantage of the Universal Windows application platform and target the current ecosystem of Windows devices.”