Microsoft Launches Visual Studio Online, VS2013, .NET 4.5.1

Microsoft launched a new set of cloud-based developer services known as Visual Studio Online, in addition to the formal launches of Visual Studio 2013 and .NET 4.5.1.

NEW YORK—Responding to an ever-growing need for enhanced development capabilities, Microsoft officially launched Visual Studio 2013 (VS2013) and .NET 4.5.1, along with a potent new set of software development services known as Visual Studio Online and an innovative new lightweight coding environment in the browser known simply by the code name "Monaco."

Microsoft announced all this at its Visual Studio 2013 Launch Event here Nov.13, featuring key Microsoft developer leaders including S. Somasegar, corporate vice president of the company's Developer Division; Scott Guthrie, a corporate vice president in Microsoft's Server and Tools Business division; and Brian Harry, a Microsoft technical fellow working as the product unit manager for Team Foundation Server, among others.

In an interview with eWEEK, Somasegar said Microsoft's moves with these new developer tools and services are based on the company's belief that developers lie at the center of the ongoing transition to devices and services that Microsoft officials have bet their company on.

eWEEK has in the past detailed much of what is new in VS20113. Visual Studio Online, meanwhile, is a set of development services and offerings running on Windows Azure that helps development teams create next-generation applications, Somasegar said. It is part of Microsoft's Cloud OS vision.

"If you are an individual developer, this gives you a set of capabilities you never had before," Somasegar told eWEEK.

Visual Studio has evolved over the years, Somasegar said. "Starting with an integrated developer environment for the desktop, Visual Studio expanded to also include team development capabilities on the server with Team Foundation Server," he said. "We are now taking the next step, extending the Visual Studio IDE with a collection of developer services, hosted in Azure, which offers the best integrated end-to-end development experience for modern applications."

Visual Studio Online provides easy access to application lifecycle management (ALM) capabilities across teams to support rapid application deployment and fast iteration of applications through learning insights. Visual Studio Online is free for teams of up to five users, and as a benefit of Visual Studio with Microsoft Developer Network (MSDN) subscriptions. It is also available through monthly subscriptions.

Overall, Visual Studio Online enables developers to do the following:

-- Take team collaboration to the cloud, making it dramatically easier for teams to embrace agile application development and delivery.

-- Enhance the individual development experience by extending tools through additional cloud services and development capabilities.

-- Bring agility to application delivery — from development to deployment to improvement, often referred to as DevOps.

-- Enable continuous delivery to Windows Azure in addition to monitoring and learning about their applications.

Indeed, Microsoft announced the availability of a broad range of developer services as part of Visual Studio Online. Several services that have been available in Team Foundation Service are now in public preview as part of Visual Studio Online, including hosted source control, work item tracking, collaboration and a build service. And the elastic load testing service Microsoft released in limited preview earlier this year is also now available in public preview as part of Visual Studio Online.

Visual Studio Online provides developers with hosted source control, using either Git or Team Foundation Version Control (TFVC). The sources for Visual Studio Online projects are readily available to sync to users' desktop when logged into Visual Studio, Somasegar said. It also features tools to support agile development processes, with work items and agile planning.

The online version's hosted build service enables developers to move their project's builds to the cloud, and build results are available in both Visual Studio Online and Visual Studio 2013. Every Visual Studio Online account provides 60 minutes of free build time per month, making it friction-free to get started with hosted build, Somasegar said.