Test Out Visual Studio 2015 CTP 5 on an Azure VM

Developers looking to check out the latest Community Technology Preview (CTP) of Visual Studio 2015 can do so without using up precious resources, now that a preview is available via an Azure VM. Also released: Visual Studio 2013 Update 5 CTP 1.

The Visual Studio team last week announced a fifth Community Technology Preview for the forthcoming Visual Studio 2015, which has a number of new features in the debugging, diagnostics, XAML language service tools, as well as the addition of ASP.NET 5. It also is available for testing on a Microsoft Azure Virtual Machine (VM). The team also released an incremental update to Visual Studio 2013 that fixes a few buggy issues related to licensing and Windows Phone app debugging.

Completely new to Visual Studio 2015 is a Diagnostic Tools debugger window, which centralizes all historical debugging data. The tool displays output as events are runnning, and uses an improved version of IntelliTrace to offer up more granular information. The Diagnostic Tools window also adds a tab for Memory Usage. There's quite a bit of new features embedded within the tool, covered in this blog. It doesn't cover the gamut of projects, though; currently, it's only enabled when working with managed Windows Presentation Foundation, Windows Forms and Console projects; native Win32, Console and MFC projects; ASP.NET 4 using IIS Express; and managed or native 32-bit Windows Store projects that are run locally.

The team said it also made improvements to the XAML language service, but said that the changes are architectural and under the hood so as to make "it much easier for us to add features." A list of features that will be coming up for testing here: "cross-language refactoring operations, improved IntelliSense filtering, and better data binding IntelliSense."

This version also comes with an improved ASP.NET 5 with a number of new features: Add Reference dialog can reference any standard C# project; IntelliSense and validation improved in the HTML, CSS, and JavaScript editors; improved support for Grunt and Gulp JavaScript build tools within the Task Runner Explorer.

One other side note is that this CTP also adds TypeScript 1.4, which "now supports typed unions, type aliases, and new ES6 features."

The Visual Studio 2015 Ultimate Preview is only one among a number of Visual Studio versions that can be accessed as Azure images. Microsoft has released earlier versions as Azure images over the months, including Visual Studio Community 2013, Team Foundation Server 2013 Update 4 Trial, Visual Studio Community 2013 with Tools for Apache Cordova CTP 3.0 on Windows Server 2012 R2, and Visual Studio Ultimate 2015 Preview with Cross Platform Tooling Support using C++ and Apache Cordova on Windows Server 2012 R2. You can find out more here.

The Visual Studio team also announced Update 5 CTP 5 1 for Visual Studio 2013. This incremental update fixes an issue in the IDE in which a notification asking for the developer to obtain or renew a license pops up after installing Visual Studio 2013 Update 4. It also adds support for graphics debugging of Unity apps on Windows Phones.

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