Visual Studio 2015 expands language roster and mobile support

The upgrade includes .Net Framework 4.6 and the new Roslyn C# and Visual Basic compiler

Visual Studio 2015 expands language roster and mobile support

With the latest version of its Visual Studio software development platform, Microsoft is looking to entice developers by expanding language capabilities and accommodating mobile development.

Visual Studio 2015 is being released today along with .Net Framework 4.6; pre-released versions already have been available. "The Visual Studio team has been consistently delivering tool and API enhancements and updates for the last few years, so new versions of VS have become less of an event than they once were," said analyst Rob Sanfilippo, of Directions on Microsoft, in an email. "However, I consider VS 2015 to be a major new release relative to VS 2013, which was a momentum release."

Substantial new components in Visual Studio 2015 include the .Net Framework 4.6 and the new Roslyn C# and Visual Basic compiler, Sanfilippo said. "However, certain tools for developing Windows 10 Universal applications, such as support for Objective-C development to enable the so-called Project Islandwood iOS platform bridge will arrive as updates after VS 2015 and Windows 10 are released."

The final versions of C# 6 and VB.Net, with features to simplify common coding patterns and boost productivity, are offered, said S. "Soma" Somasegar, Microsoft corporate vice president in Microsoft's developer division, in a blog post to be published today.

"Visual Studio 2015 also includes significantly improved support for C++ 11/14/17 along with TypeScript 1.5, F# 4.0, and tools for Python and dozens of other languages," Somasegar said. TypeScript, he noted, has been among multiple Microsoft technologies offered up to open source in the past two years, along with the Roslyn compiler platform, CoreCLR and Python Tools for Visual Studio.

For the mobile realm, Visual Studio 2015 offers cross-platform tools to build applications for iOS, Android, and Windows, Somasegar said. Combining Visual Studio 2015 with the Xamarin platform enables extension of .Net applications to iOS an Android, and an Android emulator is included in the Visual Studio upgrade.

Apache Cordova is supported as well. "If you prefer to build a mobile app experience that installs natively on the device, Visual Studio 2015 offers integrated tools for Apache Cordova, enabling you to use HTML, CSS, and JavaScript (or TypeScript) to build cross-platform mobile applications that deploy to the consumer [via an] enterprise store," Somasegar said.

Debugging and code editing and refactoring also get attention in Visual Studio 2015. "Visual Studio 2015 unifies debugging and profiling into a single Diagnostics Tools window, bringing insights about the correctness and performance of your running application into context during development. And with PerfTips, you even get performance information right in your code as you set breakpoints and step with the debugger," Somasegar said. For code editing and refactoring, Roslyn-based tooling suggests potential fixes.

Development teams should evaluate Visual Studio 2015, the Team Foundation Server 2015 application lifecycle management server, and .Net 4.6 if they have not already, Sanfilippo said. "The upgrades will typically not be critical for ongoing projects, but the investment is likely to pay off for new projects, especially those targeting Windows 10 and Microsoft cloud platforms."

Copyright © 2015 IDG Communications, Inc.