Visual Studio 2015 Preview is here

A number of path breaking announcements were made at Microsoft’s recent connect(); developer event in November 2014.

TL;DR

  • .NET Core is now open source and published on GitHub.
  • Official .NET Server distributions for Linux and Mac
  • VC++ supports Clang/LLVM for native cross-platform Android/iOS/Windows Phone development.
  • Visual Studio has a built in Android 4.2 emulator with debugging support
  • Visual Studio Community Edition has launched, free for non-enterprise users

For the first time ever Visual Studio Community Edition will allow individual developers and small agile dev teams of upto 5 to develop commercial software with no development software acquisition costs.

This is a startup’s dream come true. All you need is an idea, a laptop with Visual Studio & the internet.

I expect a massive increase in cross platform apps, with benefits to the Windows Store and Azure presence. I’ve already begun factoring Azure & Sky Drive into my apps.

Visual Studio 2015 Preview was also announced at connect(); which featured the expected integration of Xamarin Starter to create Windows/Android/iOS apps with XAML and C#. Scott Hanselman hinted at this last year at Xamarin’s Evolve 2013.

The new, new thing is that VC++ can be used to create and debug native Android activities and libraries.

Visual Studio 2015 Preview now includes an Android Emulator with debugging support and a LogCat viewer. Anyone who has done cross-platform development with C++ will know how significant this is. It’s now possible to develop and debug Windows/Android native components from Visual Studio 2015 without using Eclipse, NDK and GDB.

I had to see this in action, so I installed VS 2015 Preview on a Windows 8.1 laptop. The installation reveals a lot more work is going into it.

It’s structured into two parts, the main install completes and then reboots into a secondary installation which installs the supporting software required for cross platform development.

Here are a couple of screen captures of the installation wizard. First, the usual Visual Studio installation:

Multi-device apps with C#
Multi-device apps with C#
Apache Cordova
Apache Cordova

VS2015Preview3

The secondary installer then kicks in. A full explanation of the secondary components can be found at: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/3016534/en-us

Secondary installer ( ADK, Android 4.2, Ant, JDK, Node.js )
Secondary installer ( ADK, Android 4.2, Ant, JDK, Node.js )
Secondary installer ( Visual Studio Emulator for Android )
Secondary installer ( Visual Studio Emulator for Android )
Installing Node.js
Installing Node.js
Installing Git
Installing Git

VS2015Preview9

And finally, these are the VC++ cross platform project templates.

VC++ cross platform project templates
VC++ cross platform project templates

In a subsequent post, I will create an Android Native activity, and a Windows Phone/Android cross-platform module with VS 2015 Preview.

I’d like to hear what you think about Visual Studio’s new cross platform capabilities. Please take the time to leave some feedback, or drop me an email.

Thanks for reading.

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