Visual Studio 2017 Will Be Released March 7

Paul Ballard

9 Feb , 2017  

It’s always an event when a new version of Visual Studio comes out, and the general release of Visual Studio 2017 marks 20 years of Microsoft’s groundbreaking integrated development environment.

Visual Studio 2017 will be available for download March 7, and Microsoft is celebrating the occasion with a two-day training for developers who want to experience all the bells and whistles in the new version.

The live, online event kicks off at 8:00 am March 7, with Microsoft leaders sharing news about Visual Studio, Xamarin, .NET and Azure in a keynote address and demos. That’s followed by a day of interactive trainings on March 8.

Available in preview since early last year, Visual Studio 2017 (formerly known as Visual Studio 15) promises better code navigation and debugging, a faster overall IDE, a light install option and increased support for mobile, cross-platform development, among other new features.

Click here to register for the online event. Microsoft is also encouraging developers to share their experiences with Visual Studio on social media using the hashtag #MyVSstory.


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Microsoft to Release Mac Version of Visual Studio

Paul Ballard

14 Nov , 2016  

In a month of many surprises, Microsoft has one more for developers everywhere: It’s finally bringing Visual Studio to Mac.

A preview version of Visual Studio for Mac will debut at this week’s Connect conference, according to a blog post the company published and later deleted. (Thanks to our friends over at Engadget for saving a cached version.)

Based on Xamarin technology, the Mac version of Microsoft’s integrated development environment is primarily designed to support development for  iOS, Android and Mac, as well as server development via .NET Core. It’s powered by C# and includes F# support.

With Mac and Windows versions of Visual Studio available, developers working on different platforms will be able to collaborate on projects without converting files. Microsoft is also promising a companion Mac version of Visual Studio Code, the streamlined version of VS for quickly editing source code.

The move to make Microsoft’s integrated development environment available to Mac users is the latest sign of the company’s new platform-agnostic, cloud-focused strategy.

“This is an exciting development, evolving the mobile-centric Xamarin Studio IDE into a true mobile-first, cloud-first development tool for .NET and C#, and bringing the Visual Studio development experience to the Mac,” reads the blog post.… Read more

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Learn Faster, More Effective Debugging With This Webinar

John Robbins

10 Nov , 2016   Video

When a developer says they are debugging their code, that really means they are doing some superficial looking in the debugger. Today’s debuggers are so much more powerful than most developers realize. With a little bit of training they can easily cut the time they spend debugging by 20 percent. That means more time spent on features that customers want, which means more revenue for the company. Even more important is learning how to deal with problems that occur in production. Very few developers know anything about the real tools used to quickly solve those production problems.

If you would like to learn more about debugging using Visual Studio and its amazing breakpoint capabilities, make sure to attend this free one-hour webinar, ‘Taking a Break in the Debugger,’ led by John Robbins, the head of Wintellect’s Debugging Service and a prolific author/speaker on all things related to debugging. Click on the video above to view, and let us know your feedback in the comments.… Read more

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Paid Extensions Added to Visual Studio Marketplace

Paul Ballard

1 Sep , 2016  

Microsoft’s Visual Studio Marketplace, home to hundreds of extensions for Visual Studio, VS Team Sevices and VS Code, will now offer paid as well as free extensions, the company announced earlier this week.

Software companies will be able to sell their extensions to developers that use the Visual Studio integrated development environment under monthly licenses priced based on the size of the user group.

“While I expect the vast majority of extensions will continue to be free, I expect to see an increasing number of high value, high quality extensions to be paid,” Microsoft Corporate VP Brian Harry wrote in blog post.

The current Visual Studio Marketplace includes such bread-and-butter extensions as C# language support, along with less-popular items. The first two new paid extensions debuted this week: Agile Cards, from Spartez, which allows teams to print out cards with work tasks and add them to a physical board; and Berichthaus’ Time Tracker, which does what its name indicates.

VS users will be able to preview paid extensions for 30 days at no cost, after which they will have to pay for a license.… Read more

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.NET Core 1.0 Released, Visual Studio 2015 Updated

Paul Ballard

28 Jun , 2016  

.NET Core 1.0—the open-sourced, cross-platform version of Microsoft’s web development framework—is now generally available. The release Monday caps two years of effort, in which nearly 10,000 developers participated, according to Microsoft.

.NET Core 1.0 will allow developers to create web apps, micro-services and libraries that work on OS X and Linux as well as Windows. Microsoft will be working with Red Hat to support .NET on Red Hat’s Enterprise Linux and platform-as-a-service OpenShift 3, the two companies announced at this week’s Red Hat DevNation conference.

“This is the biggest transformation of .NET since its inception and will define .NET for the next decade,” reads the statement on Microsoft’s .NET blog.  “We’ve rebuilt the foundation of .NET to be targeted at the needs of today’s world: highly distributed cloud applications, micro services and containers.”

Developers can begin building .NET Core apps using Visual Studio 2015 Update 3, also available starting Monday. The release includes the .NET Core runtime, libraries and tools and the ASP.NET Core libraries.

Other improvements in Visual Studio 2015 Update 3 include new Apache Cordova tools and analytics tools, including one for finding trends in your app’s telemetry, and an update of Node.js Tools. There’s also a number of bug fixes.… Read more

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Choose Your Own Visual Studio Adventure

Paul Ballard

21 Jun , 2016  

Microsoft is expanding its Visual Studio installation options, making it even easier for developers to quickly install just the features they need.

The company already previewed a new ‘light install’ option as part of Visual Studio 15, the latest version of the IDE that’s rumored to be shipping later this year. The new installer shaves 30 percent off the wait time at first launch, with the smallest version taking up about 300 MB of space.

Now Microsoft is working on a menu of 17 possible setup options, depending on what you want to build. Just interested in installing C++ for desktop development? Great, there’s an option for that.

The idea is that the current standard VS installer would eventually be replaced with a new customizable menu, and Microsoft wants feedback on which options should be added before releasing another preview sometime this summer.

Below is the list of ‘workloads’ Microsoft is considering supporting with custom install experiences. Click here to share your opinion in a short survey.

  1. Universal Windows Platform development
  2. Web development (incl. ASP.NET, TypeScript, Azure tooling)
  3. Windows desktop app development with C++
  4. Cross-platform mobile development with .NET (incl. Xamarin)
  5. .NET desktop application development
  6. Linux and IoT development with C++
  7. Cross-platform mobile development with Cordova
  8. Mobile app development with C++ (incl.
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Free Xamarin, and Other Goodies for Developers From Build 2016

Paul Ballard

1 Apr , 2016  

On Day Two of Build 2016, Microsoft made the announcement that developers have been hoping for since the company acquired Xamarin in February: Xamarin tools will now be free for all Visual Studio users.

Subscribers to both paid and free tiers of Visual Studio will have access, which lowers considerably the cost of developing native apps for iOS and Android in C# using Xamarin.

Microsoft also said it will soon open-source Xamarin SDKs for Android, iOS and Mac. “This includes native API-bindings and the basic command-line tools necessary to develop mobile apps,” Xamarin’s Nat Friedman further explained in a blog post. “It also includes our popular cross-platform native UI toolkit, Xamarin.Forms.”

That’s not the only new toy developers have to play with as of this week. Microsoft also released the first public preview of Visual Studio 15 at Build. The latest version of Visual Studio includes new style analyzers for C# and Visual Basic, a preview of a new JavaScript language service, and an ‘Open Folder’ feature that allows developers to navigate code bases without setting up projects and solutions.

There’s also a faster, lightweight install option. Microsoft cautions not to install VS 15 on your production environment, as it’s unsupported.… Read more

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Microsoft Begins Private Testing of Newest Visual Studio Version

Paul Ballard

15 Mar , 2016  

A lighter, faster version of Visual Studio will likely be on its way to developers soon, perhaps by Build 2016, ZDNet reports. Code named “Visual Studio 15″—but not to be confused with the already-available Visual Studio 2015—the new version has already been released to some developers in private previews, according to ZDNet.

Testers report that the setup is a node app, and that a couple new features allow for quicker editing. An OpenFolder function in the Visual Studio IDE lets developers work with code bases that don’t have projects or solutions set up, and build using the file shortcut in Solution Explorer. The new ‘AnyCode’ feature likewise allows for the use of source code that hasn’t been organized into a project or solution.

The VS 15 preview includes support for SQL Server 2016 and can be run alongside Visual Studio 2015.

Read the full post on ZDNet here.


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Microsoft Buys Xamarin, Bets on a Cross-Platform Future

Paul Ballard

25 Feb , 2016  

The past year has seen Microsoft take a number of strides towards realizing CEO Satya Nadella’s “cloud-first, mobile-first” vision. Once laser-focused on its own devices and operating systems, the company is increasingly platform-agnostic: It wants business customers and developers to use its cloud-based software, no matter what OS they prefer.

On Wednesday, Microsoft took those efforts one step further by acquiring Xamarin, a company that allows developers to easily create and test native apps for multiple platforms, including Windows, iOS, Android and OS X, using the C# language.

This is bigger than Microsoft’s previous attempts at building a bridge to port over iOS and Android apps to Windows 10. Xamarin’s technology could potentially allow Microsoft developers to build truly universal apps that work seamlessly across a number of platforms. It’s a smart move for Microsoft at a time when Windows Phones are floundering in the market and most mobile devices are running iOS or Android.

Microsoft has already incorporated Xamarin tools into Visual Studio, Azure and Office 365. But the acquisition promises a deeper integration that should benefit developers in ways both large and small. Being able to build on .NET using a single code base should streamline app development.… Read more

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Visual Studio’s Java Tools Challenge Offers $85,000 in Prizes

Paul Ballard

24 Feb , 2016  

The latest Visual Studio Marketplace hackathon focuses on integrating Java and Visual Studio, and the maker of the best extension or app will win thousands of dollars in cash and prizes.

Here’s the challenge, according to Microsoft:

Create a Visual Studio Team Services (VSTS) extension that helps developers create, test, deploy, etc. Java apps. Or, create a Java app using Visual Studio Team Services Eclipse plugin (aka Team Explorer Everywhere) or JetBrains IntelliJ plugin.

Developers can submit a version of their existing app or extension, or create a new solution that improves the Visual Studio experience for Java development teams. Individuals, teams and organizations are eligible to enter.

The top prize includes $10,000 cash, a one-year VSPP Premier membership, three subscriptions to Visual Studio Enterprise 2015, and a featured product listing on the Visual Studio Marketplace. There are also separate prizes for the Best Android App and Best Azure SaaS App, among others.

In a blog post announcing the contest, Microsoft exec Brian Harry acknowledged the, um, complicated relationship Microsoft has had with Java in the past, but said the company wants to make VS Team Services the go-to solution for all developers:

“For several years now, we’ve had a concerted effort to build a great solution for Java developers with an Eclipse plugin, a cross platform command line, an IntelliJ plugin, a cross platform build agent and so much more.

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