Developers are about to get their hands on a bunch of new and updated tools, courtesy of Microsoft. The company announced a number of enhancements to its DevOps tools at its Connect conference in New York City. Among the biggest developments is the introduction of Visual Studio Dev Essentials, a new, free program that offers developers everything they need to create applications on any device or operating system.
“With state-of-the-art tools, the power of the cloud, training, and support, it’s our most comprehensive free developer program ever,” the company wrote on the Visual Studio Dev Essentials Web page. Dev Essentials will also add priority forum support, training services from Pluralsight, Wintellect, and Xamarin, and, starting next year, monthly credits for use in Azure.
Visual Studio Goes Open Source
But Dev Essentials wasn’t the only big Visual Studio announcement coming out of the Connect event. Microsoft also announced the release of the beta version of Visual Studio Code (pictured). The latest update adds extensibility support to Visual Studio Code and a set of guidelines, samples, and tools to support building extensions. It also includes an extension gallery for developers to peruse and play with. The gallery includes more than 60 new extensions for languages, linters, color themes, snippets, and debuggers.
The Visual Studio source code itself, meanwhile, has been added to a new public GitHub repository, effectively making Visual Studio Code an open source project going forward.
At the same time, Visual Studio Online is getting something of a facelift. The cloud development service is changing its name to Visual Studio Team Services to focus more on its DevOps service aspects. It’s also getting a number of new features, including a plugin for IntelliJ IDEA, a new customizable and task-based Build service, dashboards that provide visibility into a team’s progress, and preview extensions for Code Search, Package Management, and Release Management.
Cloud Subscriptions for Visual Studio
Microsoft is also adding monthly and annual cloud subscriptions for Visual Studio Professional and Enterprise. The subscriptions will come with tech support, Azure credits, Pluralsight training, access to dev/test software, a Windows developer account, Office ProPlus, an Office 365 developer subscription, Power BI Pro, and partner offers, depending on the subscription level.
Meanwhile, the first Visual Studio 2015 and Team Foundation Server 2015 updates are due to be released November 30. Team Foundation Server will be getting several new useful features, including dashboards that provide visibility to a team’s progress of work, code, tests and builds; Git and Team Foundation Version Control in the same team project; the ability to query Kanban columns; and SonarQube Analysis build tasks that work with on-premises and hosted agents.
The update for Visual Studio, on the other hand, will include Xamarin 4 support to allow developers to build, test, and monitor native mobile apps at scale. Xamarin 4 also has rebuilt support for developing iOS apps in Visual Studio, which should make it easier to deploy Xamarin iOS projects from Visual Studio.