Microsoft Visual Studio Dev Essentials
Written by Mike James   
Thursday, 19 November 2015

Microsoft has just announced a free "program".  Visual Studio Dev Essentials is a grab bag of tools and services that promises everything you need to create applications on any device, operating system or technology. The advice about taking candy from strangers comes to mind.

The announcement of its availability came today during Microsoft's Connect();//2015  developer event.

Visual Studio Dev Essentials is free and it gives you quite a few things that are already available as free downloads, but augmented by a lot of new things.




To sign up to VS Dev Essentials all you need is a Microsoft account. So from this point of view you can see VS Dev Essentials as way for Microsoft to get you to sign up to Azure and its other cloud services - and it is.  Part of the deal is a $25 per month Azure credit but you only get it for 12 months - after that I guess they hope they have you hooked. 

The code side of the package is:

  • Visual Studio Community
  • Visual Studio Code
  • Visual Studio Express
  • Team Foundation Server Express

Nothing really surprising in this list, but Visual Studio Code has now been open sourced. A small footnote reveals that you now have to have a Microsoft account to make use of Visual Studio Community edition after 30 days. 




Once you move beyond the code offerings it gets increasingly difficult to work out how attractive they are. The "exclusive" components, i.e. only available if you have a Microsoft account, are: 

  • Visual Studio Community
  • Azure credit $25 for 12 months
  • Visual Studio Team Services account with five users
  • Xamarin University mobile training
  • WintellectNOW 3 months subscription
  • HackHands Live Programming Help $25 credit
  • Priority Forum Support
  • Parallels Desktop for Mac Pro Edition 3-month subscription
    Parallels Access 3-month subscription

This is a clever piece of marketing. Put all the free stuff we have together, get some third party freebies and the only thing you have to do is sign up to a Microsoft Account. The most attractive part of the offer is $25 per month for 12 months to use Azure.There is already a 1-month free trial with $200 to spend which isn't as flexible.


More Information

Join Visual Studio Dev Essentials

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Last Updated ( Wednesday, 25 November 2015 )