NEW YORK—Microsoft made a host of developer-related announcements, delivering new and updated tools to reinforce its commitment to become all things to all developers.
At the company’s annual Connect(); developer event here today Microsoft introduced several new and updated developer tools and programs from Visual Studio, Azure, Office and Windows, including many new free offers.
In an interview with eWEEK, Julia Liuson, Microsoft’s corporate vice president of Visual Studio, said Microsoft is working to help all developers be successful with tools that enable innovative scenarios.
Building on its proven history of innovation with the .NET Framework and Visual Studio, Microsoft is empowering more developers by introducing several new free tools and services, including the newly announced Visual Studio Dev Essentials, a new free program designed to provide developers with everything needed to create applications on any device or operating system, using their technology of choice.
The Visual Studio Dev Essentials program provides easy access to popular Microsoft developer services, tools and resources, as well as several new benefits to help developers get started building apps. Visual Studio Dev Essentials benefits will include access to the Visual Studio Community, Visual Studio Code and new Visual Studio Team Services; priority forums support; Parallels Desktop for Mac; training from Pluralsight Wintellect and Xamarin; a $25 monthly Azure credit coming early next calendar year; and more. Further details are available here.
Liuson noted that Microsoft has seen significant momentum with its developer platform since last year’s Connect(); event, where the company launched efforts to open-source much of the .NET platform. Over the past several months there have been more than five million Visual Studio 2015 downloads, more than seven million Visual Studio Community downloads, more than one million downloads of Visual Studio Code Preview, and 3.6 million registered Visual Studio Online users, she said.
“We’re really passionate about delivering amazing experiences for all of our developers,” Liuson said.
Microsoft’s developer platform is open by design, allowing developers to target any device and platform, including iOS, Android, Linux and Windows. The company today released new versions of popular tools that further enable developers to quickly create innovative apps and services. Microsoft released Visual Studio Code beta as an open-source project, available on GitHub. Visual Studio Code is an advanced code editor and part of the Visual Studio family that runs on Linux, OS X and Windows, and has been already downloaded more than one million times in preview. The new beta version includes a new extension model with a gallery of extensions for additional features, themes and language support.
“I think the most important moves we’re making here are introducing Visual Studio Dev Essentials and making Visual Studio Code available to the open-source community,” Liuson told eWEEK. “Visual Studio Dev Essentials is the first time we’re making all of our tools and services available to any developer on the planet. And opening up Visual Studio Code is key to developers on different platforms. Combining the two will be quite eye-opening and empowering.”
Microsoft also delivered release candidates (RC) of .NET Core 5 and ASP.NET 5 for Linux, Windows and OS X. With this implementation of the .NET Core for any operating system, developers can start using it in production environments.
Microsoft Unveils Tools for Android, Azure, iOS, Linux, Office, Windows
Meanwhile, making it even easier to access Microsoft’s developer tools, the company also introduced Visual Studio cloud subscriptions, which offer Visual Studio Professional and Visual Studio Enterprise on a monthly or annual basis through a new Visual Studio Marketplace. The new marketplace provides a central location for developers to find and install components that extend the Microsoft development platform.
The Visual Studio Marketplace is a central place for developers to find, use or mix-and-match extensions for the Visual Studio IDEs (Visual Studio Enterprise, Visual Studio Professional, and Visual Studio Community), Visual Studio Team Services (formerly Visual Studio Online), and Visual Studio Code, Liuson said. The new Visual Studio cloud subscriptions, as well as several first-party extensions for Visual Studio Team Services, will be available for purchase in the Marketplace. Partners will be able to sell extensions in the Visual Studio Marketplace at a future date.
Microsoft also showed that it continues to bring innovation to Visual Studio developers with a first look at the next version of Visual Studio: Visual Studio 2015 Update 1.
The company also announced the general availability of the Microsoft Graph, offering developers a consistent way to access data, intelligence and APIs within the Microsoft cloud and with a single authorization token. With the Microsoft Graph, developers can tap into the collective power of the Microsoft cloud to create smart, people-centric applications that help companies and users achieve more with contextual insights. Any developer capable of making an HTTP request can call the API from any platform. The Microsoft Graph is hosted at http://graph.microsoft.com.
Also available today is Azure Service Fabric in public preview, making it easy for developers to build and operate microservice-based applications at scale that fully integrate with Microsoft Azure and Visual Studio. The preview includes support for .NET development on Windows Server, with Linux support expected in 2016.
Moreover, Microsoft has been a pioneer in empowering enterprise development teams with tools for agile and DevOps practices, including Team Foundation Server and Visual Studio Online. The company today introduced Visual Studio Team Services, an enhanced and rebranded version of the Visual Studio Online service with 3.6 million existing registered users. Microsoft demonstrated the extensible architecture of Visual Studio Team Services by showing a broad catalog of partner extensions available in the new Visual Studio Marketplace, as well as Microsoft’s own extensions.
Microsoft also extended its DevOps solutions into more mobile development scenarios for Windows, Android and iOS. This includes the ability to host cloud builds for mobile applications with cross-platform build capabilities for iOS—in partnership with MacinCloud—and Android. The addition of HockeyApp to the Microsoft DevOps solution will now enable mobile apps beta testing, user feedback and crash analytics in the DevOps cycle.