Visual Studio 2015 To Launch Before Windows 10
Written by Mike James   
Tuesday, 30 June 2015

VS 2015 will be launched on July 20th - nine days before we get our hands on the final version of Windows 10. Nine whole days to create some universal apps? Perhaps, perhaps not. 

Microsoft has big plans for Visual Studio, that much is obvious, but the majority of them seem to have been made well into the production cycle. As a result many of the features that are most exciting to the Microsoft or prospective Microsoft programmer aren't going to be in the release and will follow later as upgrade.



VS 2015 will, of course, support the latest C#, VB and F# and a surprising host of other languages that used to suffer from the "not invented here" syndrome. You can now use VS 2015 to create apps in Node.js, Python, TypeScript, Cordova, Unity and more. We also have all the "legacy" project types - including Silverlight, MFC, ATL and so on.

As Somasegar says on his blog:

"We are opening up Visual Studio to developers targeting new platforms – from cross-platform mobile development targeting iOS, Android and Windows, to game development targeting Unity, Unreal, Cocos and more.  At the same time, Visual Studio 2015 redefines developer productivity with proactive diagnostics tooling and the new Roslyn language services for C# and VB.  And together, Visual Studio 2015, Team Foundation Server 2015 and Visual Studio Online help teams to embrace DevOps with great agile backlog management, Azure cloud tooling, hosted continuous integration, and Application Insights across all the components of your application."

You can build Android and iOS apps in VS 2015 writing in C#, but this functionality comes from Xamarin and you have to download the Xamarin system. These are fine tools if you have an existing app written in C# and want to port it to Android or iOS or if you want to start a new project. Somewhere on the horizon are project Astoria, porting Android apps to Windows 10 Mobile, and project Islandwood, which will compile Objective C iOS apps to Windows 10 Mobile. These are the most exciting prospects, but they are not in VS 2015 and we haven't got any clue as to when they might turn up. 

More worrying is the status of the new Windows 10 Universal App toolkit. Although there has been a promise that this will be updated before long, nothing much has happened. There are a few minor changes in the latest Windows 10 update (10158), but it still seems to be a long way from usable. 

Arguably the new Windows 10 Universal App project type is going to be the really revolutionary feature. It allows a single code base to target mobile, phone and desktop apps. It has Android-like resource management that should allow multiple XAML files to be defined for the same code behind and the appropriate XAML file will be used according to the screen real estate available. This is a big step forward and it is how WinRT app development should have been from the start. It isn't clear at the moment if the new Universal App facility will ship fully finished in VS 2015, but it doesn't look likely. 

Over the years Visual Studio has been a barometer of how things are inside Microsoft. It indicated when the OS group got the upper hand on the language group in that C/C++ and COM go up when OS is top dog and C# and managed code go up when languages are top. At the moment Visual Studio is such a mess of different technologies it is becoming impossible to read much into what is happening.

It is clear that VS is now the major weapon in Microsoft's attempts to become relevant in a world outside of Windows, in a post PC world if you like. VS is the way that Microsoft will suck in and make its own all of the technologies that represent the competition. It provides bridges that allow iOS, Android and all manner of other platform developers to move towards its products and, most importantly, of all its cloud offerings.

Azure is behind most things Microsoft these days. For example, take a look at the current, very incomplete Windows 10 Universal App template - it has instrumentation baked in from the start and guess who provides it? Yes you guessed Azure. 

Visual Studio 2015 has a lot of nice new stuff and it is great that it is going to be released soon - but it's not exactly a case of the waiting being over. The waiting is just starting for many of the technologies that were announced at Build. Perhaps VS 2016 will satisfy these very real needs. 

You can catch the launch details at the Visual Studio 2015 Final Release Event site, and on July 20 at 3:30 pm UTC (8:30 am PDT) you can watch the Visual Studio 2015 final release event online.





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Last Updated ( Tuesday, 30 June 2015 )