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Microsoft Tests Waters for Visual Studio '14'

Microsoft has released an early community technology preview of Visual Studio 14, the next major version of its flagship developer toolset.

Visual Studio

Microsoft has released the first community technology preview (CTP) of the next major version of Visual Studio, codenamed Visual Studio 14.

The company is maintaining its commitment to a faster cadence of Visual Studio releases with the release of Visual Studio 2013 Update 2 last month and the release of the first CTP of Visual Studio 2013 Update 3 a week later. Now Microsoft has delivered an early CTP of Visual Studio 14, which is designed to solicit initial testing and feedback from the Visual Studio community.

The CTP includes ASP.NET vNext and C++ updates that were previously announced as well as compiler updates and tools for creating cloud-optimized websites. The first Visual Studio "14" CTP is available for download now. However, Visual Studio 14 is not expected to be released until 2015.

In a blog post on the technology, S. "Soma" Somasegar, corporate vice president of Microsoft's Developer Division, said Visual Studio 14 will most likely become generally available sometime in 2015, with a more complete preview release and final naming available later this year.

"Over the last three months, we've announced many exciting technologies that will be important parts of Visual Studio '14'—including the 'Roslyn' .NET compiler platform, ASP.NET vNext and Apache Cordova tooling," Somasegar said. "The Visual Studio '14' CTP 1 includes these tools, as well as many additional improvements across Visual Studio, including an eSomarly look at some new C++ 11 support that will be part of Visual Studio '14.'"

Microsoft's support for Apache Cordova was a source of discussion at the recent TechEd 2014 conference. At TechEd, Microsoft released a preview of Visual Studio tooling support for Apache Cordova. Apache Cordova is a popular open-source platform for building multi-device hybrid mobile applications using HTML, CSS and JavaScript, targeting a broad range of mobile devices.

"This includes support for iOS and Android, as well as support for Windows Store and Windows Phone thanks to Microsoft Open Technologies contributions to the project," Somasegar said.

With the Cordova tools in Visual Studio, Web developers can use their existing skills in HTML and JavaScript to create hybrid-packaged apps for multiple devices while taking advantage of each device's capabilities.

In Visual Studio "14", the C# and VB compilers and IDE support are fully built on the .NET Compiler Platform "Roslyn" compiler, Somasegar said. "This open-source compiler as a service now sits behind dozens of developer experiences in Visual Studio "14", powering build, IntelliSense, refactoring, CodeLens, debugging and many more features developers use every day," he added. "In most places the experiences are unchanged, but there have also been many small improvements across the entire development experience as part of the new compiler platform. In the Visual Studio '14' preview C# refactoring support has been completely revamped including two new core refactorings: Inline Temporary Variable and Introduce Explaining Variable. Additionally, refactoring support for Visual Basic has been added for the first time. Visual Studio '14' also supports APIs that come from NuGet with their own analyzers, squiggling issues in your code as you type and offering you automatic fixes, all powered by the .NET Compiler Platform."

A few weeks ago, Microsoft announced ASP.NET vNext, which is designed for both cloud and server, offering side-by-side installation options and enhanced developer productivity, through a modular and highly configurable framework and web stack. The Visual Studio 14 CTP offers an early look at the Visual Studio tooling experience for ASP.NET vNext. As well as the ASP.NET 4.5 Web Application templates, new templates are included for targeting ASP.NET vNext, Somasegar said.

Moreover, "The next version of .NET that will be available along with Visual Studio 14 includes ASP.NET vNext as well as many additional new .NET technologies that we've previewed in recent month, including .NET Native for Windows Store apps, the next generation JIT [Just-In-Time compiler], and the Roslyn compilers.