Review: Visual Studio 2015 breaks new ground

Sweeping upgrade improves everything from language support to lifecycle management, and it opens the door to cross-platform development

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At a Glance
  • Microsoft Visual Studio 2015

Visual Studio has always been a big product with a raft of features that grew with each release. Visual Studio 2015 extends that trend in ways I never expected to see from Microsoft.

Cross-platform mobile app development? Check that box at least twice, once for Xamarin and once for Cordova, with extra credit for portable C++ and integration with Unity.

Cross-platform servers? Check that box at least thrice, for .Net Core, ASP.Net and Entity Framework, and Python and Node.js.

Cross-platform editing and debugging? Yes. Visual Studio Code runs on Mac OS X, Linux, and Windows.

Cross-platform application lifecycle management? Git and GitHub are supported, and Microsoft has extended the Git support in Team Foundation Server to allow for continuous integration with the same kinds of smart check-in rules that Team Foundation Server has for its version control system.

Cross-platform builds? You got it. In addition to working with Visual Studio Build and MSBuild, Team Foundation Build can use Ant, Gradle, Maven, Android Build, Gulp, Xcode, and others.

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