Microsoft Announces It Will Open Source .NET, Releases New Visual Studio Tools

Microsoft also releases a bevy of next-generation Visual Studio tools, including Visual Studio Community 2013, which is a full-featured Visual Studio 2013 sans enterprise app development capabilities.

Microsoft is in the "process of open-sourcing the full .NET server core stack and introducing a new free and fully-featured edition of Visual Studio," according to S. Somasegar, corporate vice president of the Developer Division at Microsoft, through his blog today. That announcement marks just one of a handful of major milestones his team has achieved, as they've also announced a bevy of products in various stages of development within the Visual Studio family.

The process of open sourcing .NET has been taking place over the course of several months. ASP.NET was open sourced in early March, while the "Roslyn" .NET Compiler Platform was released to the open source community in April. Both are hosted on the Microsoft CodePlex site.

What Somasegar said is being released today includes portions of the .NET Core development stack. Specifically, the release is comprised of the immutable collections, the ECMA-335 Metadata Reader (used by Roslyn for assembly parsing), SIMD-enabled vector types and XML components. He said that what remains to be open sourced are the .NET Core Runtime and .NET Core Framework pieces, which will be done in subsequent months.

His team also announced the reach of .NET into the Mac and Linux platforms, a necessary move that has the potential to expand the number of development opportunities for Visual Studio developers. Much of that work will be done through open source contributions from the Mono community.

The other Visual Studio releases, in a nutshell:

Visual Studio Community 2013: It's a free, feature-complete version of Visual Studio 2013, limited in that it's for non-enterprise application development. Appdev can span beyond desktops to mobile and cloud environments.

Previews of Visual Studio 2015 and the .NET Framework 2015: Visual Studio 2015 integrates the upcoming .NET Compiler Platform and updates and adds many new productivity tools. It also works seamlessly with the Office 365 APIs, and the Azure SDK 2.5, for diagnosing and debugging processes in the cloud. .NET 2015 shows off ASP.NET 5, which will be cross-platform and open source.

Visual Studio 2013 Update 4: Now generally available, it come with updates to ASP.NET and Web Tools (read about the recent changes here), as well as integration of the Unity Tools for Visual Studio, a plug-in for developing and porting cross-platform apps based on the Unity game engine.

Visual Studio Online Release Management (VSORM) service and Visual Studio Cloud Deployment Projects (VSCDP): Both tools are aimed at streamlining the communication between developers and IT to streamline app deployments. VSORM, in preview, orchestrates source and configuration deployment processes. VSCDP allows for managing cloud deployments in a Visual Studio coding context; it's integrated and available with Azure SDK 2.5.

You can read the details in Somasegar's blog post. A replay of his talk at the Connect(); event announcing these new products can be viewed on demand on the Channel9 site here.

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You Tell 'Em, Readers: If you've read this far, know that Michael Domingo, Visual Studio Magazine Editor in Chief, is here to serve you, dear readers, and wants to get you the information you so richly deserve. What news, content, topics, issues do you want to see covered in Visual Studio Magazine? He's listening at [email protected].

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