Microsoft continued on its course of arming developers to build applications for the devices-first, cloud-first world by announcing new .NET technology, integrated support for building cross-platform mobile apps and other Visual Studio enhancements, among other things.
Microsoft Technical Fellow and Corporate Vice President Brian Harry told eWEEK this move follows Microsoft's support for the Xamarin platform. Last November, Microsoft announced a partnership with Xamarin to enable C# and Visual Studio developers to target additional mobile devices, including iOS and Android. 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 newly formed .NET Foundation, additional innovation can be expected.
"This is the next big step in that path," Harry said. "My gut is that this is going to kind of come as a bit of a surprise to some people. This gives us a good spectrum of coverage for the toolset. The idea that you can hit F5 and have your application run on a Mac is going to resonate with developers."
Visual Studio developers can now build Windows, iOS and Android native applications with .NET and Xamarin or hybrid applications with Apache Cordova. Microsoft also released Visual Studio 2013 Update 2 RTM, including support for universal Windows apps.
Microsoft has extended Visual Studio Online, the company's cloud-based application lifecycle management [ALM] offering, by releasing a set of APIs and service hooks that integrate with third-party services, according to Harry. The new APIs make it easier for organizations to adopt Visual Studio Online without abandoning the tools they're using today, he said.
"At Build we announced the GA [general availability] of Visual Studio Online; at TechEd, we're announcing a new set of standard ways of operating with Visual Studio Online," Harry said. "You need some sort of hub for your ALM process. You want to be able to pick for-purpose features and use what you want. That's what we're providing here—services built with REST, OAuth and standard hooks."